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Sodus students confronting sustainability issues

Messenger Post Media
messenger@messengerpostmedia.com

The University of Rochester’s Get Real! Science Camp typically takes place along the shorelines of Lake Ontario, allowing kids to learn science while making positive changes in their community. This year, organizers adjusted to COVID-19 and moved the program online.

Thirty middle school students from Sodus are participating in this year’s program, which runs until July 23. This is the fourth year for the camp, led by UR graduate students, to be offered to students outside of Monroe County, in partnership with the Sodus Central School District. Previously, it was open to students in Rochester city schools.

“Each summer, our middle school students are so excited to work with the teachers at the University of Rochester,” said Heather Uetz, assistant superintendent of curriculum at Sodus CSD. “The authentic application of math and science skills to real-world questions is highly engaging for our students. They truly enjoy working together, solving problems and learning from each other.”

Sodus campers are meeting daily from the safety of their homes via Google Meet. Camp organizers deliver science equipment and materials throughout the week to enhance the hands-on learning of science and overall summer camp experience.

Renamed the Get Real! Science Sustainability Camp, four undergraduate students joined the program as sustainability interns to collaborate with graduate students in developing eight custom sustainability experiences.

Sodus students will participate in a sustainability challenge by creating miniature immersive technology trails in their yards. The hiking trails will center around pollination, climate change, environmental justice, sustainable agriculture, invasive species, waste, sustainable fashion and water conservation. Campers will have the opportunity to hike the trails with their families this summer and become Sodus Sustainability Champions by collecting all eight digital badges.

On July 23, students will present their work to their families and friends during a virtual public showcase.

“We are aiming to engage students in authentic, hands-on and creative sustainability science work that is grounded in Sodus’ own unique cultural identity and community,” said Hana Goldstein, a master’s student in the science education program. “At the end of the day, we want students’ camp experience to be fun and memorable, despite the remote learning environment.”

Sodus students will continue their work in the fall by building a larger immersive technology trail behind their school for the broader community to enjoy and earn digital badges.

“One will not find a more sincere commitment to youth anywhere,” said April Luehmann, who created the Get Real! Science Program. “Our Sodus collaborators help us to see the incredible strengths of Sodus as a community and as a place. The science we do together intentionally celebrates and contributes to these strengths.”

Visit getrealscience.wixsite.com/sustainabilitychamps to learn more about the Sodus Sustainability Challenge and follow students’ progress at the virtual summer camp.