2022-2023 STEM Competition Winners:
South Woods Middle School
Plainedge Middle School
Sayville High School
South Side High School
South Woods Middle School: The 6th grade team designed a native garden with the use of a Tinkercad and created an outreach plan to educate the broader community about nitrogen pollution.
South Side High School received $2500 grant for the installation of a rain garden and permeable pavement to reduce stormwater runoff and reduce nitrogen pollutants.
At Plainedge Middle School students built lysimeters – an instrument buried in the ground used to collect and analyze the water percolated through the soil – to monitor the amount of nitrogen infiltrating the groundwater on the school’s playing fields.
To limit the amount of nitrogen pollution entering Green’s Creek from the school’s parking lot discharge, Sayville High School studnets designed a woodchip biochar filter to be installed at the discharge location.
2021-2022 STEAM Competition Winners:
Herricks High School
Half Hollow Hills West High School
Jericho High School
Long Island Regional Planning Council presented $2,500 to Herricks High School. Here students developed their ‘Say NO to Nitro!’ project which will plant native wildflowers with natural denitrifying qualities in three locations to reduce nitrogen entering the ground and surface waters from school grounds. Assemblywoman Gina L. Sillitti, Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jennifer DeSena, and District Representative Betsy Golan of Senator Anna M. Kaplan‘s office joined LIRPC’s Executive Director, Richard Guardino to present the check to Herricks High School students and faculty.
2020-2021 STEAM Competition Winners:
Sanford H. Calhoun High School (Bellmore-Merrick Central Highs School District)
Commack High School (Commack School District)
New Hyde Park Memorial (Sewanhaka Central High School District)
Sewanhaka High School (Sewanhaka Central High School District)
Calhoun High School receives $2500 grant award from the LIRPC as part of the Long Island Water Quality STEAM Challenge. Students designed a rain garden which features native plants to help filter out pollutants or excess nutrients from stormwater runoff before it enters the surface waterways or recharges into the ground water supply. The rain garden will transform a grass area that presently requires regular maintenance to a more natural landscaped area with native plantings that collect, absorb, and filter stormwater runoff. This will provide a habitat beneficial for insects and birds, as well as filter pollutants that would otherwise be discharged off site. The garden will also serve as an ongoing classroom for students in future years.
Commack High School receives a $2500 grant as a top finalist in the 2021-2022 STEAM Challenge. Students designed a native plant rain garden located in a courtyard that will be a subset of a larger plan to turn the courtyard into an outdoor classroom. STEM classes like IB Biology and IB Environmental will incorporate the garden into their curriculum. The garden will provide an area for pollinators while removing sediments from rainwater runoff. Signage will educate visitors about the need for native rain gardens. A teacher workshop will be held for STEM teachers on how to incorporate the garden and utilize volunteers and clubs to maintain the garden.
2019-2020 LIRPC Inaugural STEAM Competition Winners:
Cutchogue East Elementary School (Mattituck Cutchogue Union Free School District)
Accompsett Middle School (Smithtown Central School District)
On June 16, 2021 the LIRPC awarded Cutchogue East Elementary School, a top finalist in the 2019-2020 Long Island Water Quality Challenge, a $5,000 grant award. Students collaborated to research stormwater treatments to minimize pollution into the Peconic Bays. They designed a biorentention area on the campus which uses soil, plants and microbes to treat stormwater before it is infiltrated or discharged.
On April 22, 2021, Earth Day, the LIRPC awarded the Accompsett Middle School a $5000 grant for the implementation of a native plant and pollinator garden for the front entrance of the school. The garden will serve as an ongoing “classroom” for both middle school and elementary school students on how native plants and natural pollinators, such as birds and bats, can reduce the use of chemicals or overwatering.
Thank you to the following people who reviewed the project proposals and provided technical expertise:
Susan Van Patten – New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Water
Derek Betts – Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District
Olivia Calandra – Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District
Sally Kellogg – South Shore Estuary Reserve
Elizabeth Cole – Long Island Regional Planning Council
Rachel Titus – Long Island Regional Planning Council