USGS - science for a changing world

South Florida Information Access (SOFIA)


sofia > academy of environmental science and technology

Academy of Environmental Science and Technology
Forest Hill Community High School

Weather station
The USGS has helped install a state-of-the-art weather station on the Forest Hill campus that will help the students collect meteorological and groundwater data. The students of Forest Hill will be using these data to help forecast weather and will publish their findings in their school newspaper.

Introduction

The Academy of Environmental Science and Technology at Forest Hill Community High School represents a new and innovative approach to environmental education. The Academy uses an integrated curriculum that incorporates English, social studies, and technology into their environmental science program. The curriculum is made up of activities that are self-paced and encourage independent thinking skills. The students are required to use various resources, including the Internet, to find their information. Grades 9 through 12 are all located in the same room and share facilities.

The Academy is heavily computer- based and the large classroom is fitted with computer kiosks rather than seats arranged as in a typical classroom. Field studies, on the job training, science fair projects, research activities, and special projects are all part of the magnet program. The intention of the Academy is to prepare students for real work in the environmental field.

Special Projects

Weather Station and Envirothon

In an effort to empower students to compete in the global market place in the areas of environmental science and technology and to link them to real-world experiences, the Academy involves students in a variety of special projects. One such project offers them the opportunity to work with a fully operational weather station that is part of the South Florida climate-monitoring network. Students collect data from this unit and compare it to data from stations in different
Envirothon 2002 website
Come visit our website for Envirothon 2002!
environments. In addition, students have been involved with the Palm Beach County Envirothon. This program is a "field-oriented, educational program where high school students, working in teams of five, learn to use critical thinking skills and develop problem-solving and communication skills to solve written questions or conduct hands-on investigations about environmental issues." In 2001 and 2002, Forest Hill students decided to design a project that would help reduce the rate of pet abandonment. They produced a website, video, and a brochure containing information on animal abandonment to place in different locations such as sanctuaries and animal shelters. They also produced a coloring book, which is available for download off of this site.


Palm Beach County Science Fair

photo collage of students in front of projects
Forest Hill students competed in the 42nd Annual Palm Beach County Science Fair.

In addition to their work with the Envirothon, Forest Hill High School’s Environmental Science Academy involved 13 students in the High School Science Fair, held February 15, 2002, as well as the 42nd Annual Palm Beach County Science Fair, held on February 20, 2002. The aim of the projects is to introduce the students to the scientific method and to allow them to pursue their interests from a research perspective. The students select a topic, research it, create an experiment, collect results, and analyze the acceptanceor dismissal of their hypothesis. This research experience is then compiled into a research paper, poster presentation, and, for some, a PowerPoint presentation used for the competition phase of the Science Fair. It is a rewarding endeavor for the students, exposing them to real-world applications of the questions they generate regarding the plants, animals, and processes they are interested in.

Lee Stocking Island, Bahamas Field Study

Photo of Forest Hill students in the Bahamas
Forest Hill students visit the Bahamas

After returning from a five day field-experience of a life time at Lee Stocking Island in the Bahamas, exploring marine life and coastal ecosystems, the students of Forest Hill High School's Environmental Academy aren't likely to soon forget all they learned. Through gracious grant funding from the Perry Marine Institute and the Friends of the Environmental Academy, ten 11th grade students, accompanied by two of their Academy leaders, Ms. Sasha Linsin and Ms. Suzanne Pirtle, were able to travel this past July 17 through the 21, to the islands. Their goal was to investigate the role that science plays in the conservation and protection of our marine resources.

The students were able to visit many key areas on the island, covering a wide range of topics such as geological history, coral reef ecology, mariculture, regional aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, and marine biotechnology. They explored mangrove habitats and ecology through snorkeling excursions to Norman's Pond Cay and blue holes or caves. Here the students were able to observe the many new species of crustaceans that have adapted to these drastic habitat conditions. Learn more about their exciting trip....


The Academy of Environmental Science and Technology at Forest Hill Community High School was honored to receive two USGS scholarships for a student and a teacher to attend the 2003 Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration Conference. Jessica Teets, a sophomore, was chosen as the Academy student representative to be a Volunteer for Science at the conference. She participated in the poster session by exhibiting her science fair project entitled A Survey of the Barn Owl (Tyto alba) Prey Species in the Everglades Agricultural Area. Sasha Linsin, a science facilitator in the Academy, was the accompanying teacher.

A state of the art Hydrolab environmental monitoring unit was purchased by the Academy for students to use in water quality studies of the Lake Worth Lagoon. Students from the Academy have been involved for the past two years in a "Sister City" project with the Tzahar region of Israel. They exchange information with students there on the similarities between problems that exist in the Hula Valley in Israel and the Everglades.

A "Friends" organization of local business and governmental agencies helps the Academy with special activities and funding for extensive field studies. They have also hired a part time person to function as a research director for the students.

Achievements

The Environmental Academy has been in operation for the past five years during which students have earned above average scores on standardized tests. In addition, 80% of Academy students, on average, continue their education at the university level. These achievements help fulfill the Academy's goal of producing self-motivated citizens who will take action to solve challenges that face South Florida in the 21st century.

For More Information:

Cheryl Jorandby or Sasha Linsin
Forest Hill Community High School
690l Parker Avenue, West Palm Beach, Florida 33405
(561) 540-2493


U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Center for Coastal Geology
This page is: http://sflwww.er.usgs.gov /forest_hill/index.html
Comments and suggestions? Contact: Heather Henkel - Webmaster
Last updated: 15 January, 2013 @ 12:42 PM (KP)