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AP Environmental Science Project Spotlight

 For the rest of the school year, students in Advanced Placement Environmental Science (APES) will be designing and completing their biggest assignment of the class.

Students are tasked with designing their own projects to implement what they have learned and show how it applies to real life. The main purpose of these projects is for the students to see their direct impact on the environment and to experience a hands-on approach to collecting research involving it.

Students of Mrs. Jones’ APES class, seniors Christine Crasto, Jenna Shepard, and Sara Vandenburgh, have each designed their own specific projects.

Inspired by her passion for the ocean, Crasto hopes to combine her love of marine life into her project. She does so by examining the effect humans have on the beaches locally and globally.

“I decided to look into the ocean acidification which has been disturbing marine life by breaking down the calcium carbonate in their shells and bleaching coral reefs,” Crasto said.

“I hope to gather enough information to be able to educate the public. I will be volunteering with the tide pool exhibit/coral reef exhibit at the birch aquarium as well as working with a naturalist down at local tide pools to see how the problem is affecting us both locally and globally.”

In doing so, Crasto hopes to bring light to this major environmental issue and how people can help preserve the ocean.

While Crasto spends her time at the tide pools, Sara Vandenburgh takes her project in a different direction with a different ecosystem.

apes picture
Photo Courtesy of Sara Vandenburgh

 “My project is a combination of habitat restorations in the PQ canyon area and succulents propagations,” Vandenburgh said.

Vandenburgh’s idea is to show how easy it is to grow new plants from old succulents and that, with the Los Penasquitos reserve’s declining habitat, San Diego can preserve the canyon by adding succulents.

“I hope to help restore the natural land in the PQ canyon area which was once destroyed by agricultural practices. I also hope to educate individuals on the importance of using water wise plants such as succulents,” Vandenburgh said.

Unlike Crasto and Vandenburgh, Jenna Shepard decided to focus on an ecosystem closer to home by conducting an experiment to discover a way to treat pools with the least amount of chemicals and the most cost and energy efficient way.

“I will be comparing three different pool systems to determine which of the three is the most energy efficient, uses the least amount of chemicals, and is most cost efficient,” Shepard said. “In doing so I hope to learn how to efficiently collect data and use it to better my understanding in regards to pools and our environment.”

Despite the different approaches to complete the project, each student has the chance to think creatively and further their understanding of their individual impact on the environment.

About Makayla Mahajan

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