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County: Bristol

Town: New Bedford

Greater New Bedford Voe-Tech HS Environmental Science/Technology Sunflowers for Soil Remediation Forty eight students in the Environmental Science/Technology (ES&T) career major at Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School (GNB) have started a soil remediation plan to help remediate/cleanup soils in various areas within the community of New Bedford. The development of this environmental education initiative has brought about numerous learning opportunities for all students. This initiative has helped students gain a better understanding about remediation efforts which contribute towards conserving energy and its connections designed for protecting the environment. Through this remediation program more awareness and involvement from the community has increased about hyperaccumulator plants. The ES&T students have been given the opportunity to organize a school wide plant sale to help educate all about the benefits of soil remediation and how these sunflowers help. Sunflowers are a hyperaccumulator plant that absorbs toxins, such as heavy metals, to a greater concentration than that in the soil in which it is growing. ES&T students also had the oppotiunity to work in conjunction with a certified arborist from the City of New Bedford planting a variety of di verse tree species in a local park. ES&T students also learned about the various benefits of urban forestry and its different career pathways/job responsibilities associated with this profession. This entire initiative has provided the ES&T, students with connections to the City of New Bedford Parks and Recreation Department, Friends of Buttonwood Park Community Group, New Bedford Zoological Society, and the list continues to grow daily. Using these partnerships provides a learning experience for the students because it allows them to experience different programs within the real world that relate to their field of study. Having these programs in our school hopefully brings awareness and inspires students, families, and the community to take part in energy conserving methods which in turn helps protects the environment we all live in. Even if all they do is plant a few sun flowers, it’s still an improvement and will help to remediate soils. Our goal is to make small improvements to benefit the bigger cause of living a more energy efficient life and conserving/protecting the environment.

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