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Schalmont’s Environmental Club strives to make a difference

Oct. 26, 2015

Enironmental ClubThis year, Schalmont High School’s Environmental Club is focusing on two ways the organization can directly impact the environment: recycling and monitoring the blue birds on campus.

“The use of pesticides around the world has taken a toll on the blue bird population,” club advisor Adam Labuda said.

So the club decided to do something about it. Last spring, the organization build and posted five bluebird birdhouses around the campus, and this year, the members are monitoring the house to gain data on the bird population that has greatly diminished in the last few decades.

“Since this is fairly new, it is a great learning experience for all members, including myself,” club President Shaheen Hasan said.

Members, armed with a reference book on nests and eggs and notebook to record observations, check each birdhouse weekly, looking for signs of habitation and eggs. Their hope is to find blue birds nesting so that they can be monitored.

“Last year was just the beginning and we didn't have much file keeping and monitoring of the houses, but this year we plan checking them regularly and taking specific observations,” said Kathleen Ruther, club secretary.

While birds have been making homes in the house, they have mainly been nests made by sparrows, but the members are hoping to eventually find their target species nesting in one of the boxes by spring.

In the meantime, the club is also focusing on its newest project. Members are implementing a recycling program at the high school this year.

“We partner with T.A. Predel & Co., Inc. to recycle all paper products, including books and packaging,” Hasan said. “Mr. Labuda and I organize the members into groups for recycling, assigning different areas of the school to different groups. Most recycling takes place after school on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, though if people are free during study halls and on Wednesdays they are welcome to participate.”

Any high school student is welcome to join the Environmental Club or to offer members a project proposal.

“As with any club, we are always open to new suggestions for programs and activities. We have done campus clean-ups in the past and have enthusiastic members with many great ideas,” Hansan said.

Ruther said she finds membership in the club rewarding.

“Over my four years of being a loyal environmental club member, I feel fond of the club. I love nature and hate how people mistreat their environments,” Ruther said. “Ultimately I plan on going to college to pursue a field in veterinary science but I will continue to help the environment in any way possible.”