NORWALK, Conn. – About 50 Norwalk seventh- and eighth-grade will explore marine technology, ecosystems and animal care at the Maritime Aquarium this summer as part of the mayor’s Student Engineering and Science Program.
The program is a partnership among the city, the Maritime Aquarium and Norwalk schools. It is free to the students thanks to $20,000 raised by the Norwalk Energy Efficiency Challenge launched last year by the Mayor’s Energy and Environmental Task Force.
Half of the students will participate from June 29 to July 3, and the other half from Aug. 10 to 14. Applications will be available from middle school science teachers, and students in good academic standing will be chosen based on need and their interests in engineering or marine sciences.
“We’re very excited about this new summer program, which we see as just one of many community partnerships to develop,” said Maritime Aquarium President Brian Davis. “While the Maritime Aquarium is a regional resource for environmental education, we believe one of our strongest obligations and opportunities is right here in Norwalk.”
The curriculum for the program was designed by Tamre-Diane Mockus, the K-12 science and health instructional specialist for the Norwalk Board of Education, the Maritime Aquarium Education Director Tom Naiman, and Ann Marie Lisi, the aquarium’s in-house programs manager.
Throughout the program, students will observe the dive team in the Open Ocean Tank and learn about the science of diving. They’ll build a diving bell and a hydrophone, learn about navigation tools used by early explorers, take a cruise on the Spirit of the Sound research vessel, design pollution filters, learn about the life cycle of butterflies, and more.
The Mayor’s Energy and Environmental Task Force launched the Energy Challenge to encourage residents to sign up for home energy audits. The $99 audits bring specialists into homes to check for ways that they can be more energy efficient in an effort to both reduce the city’s carbon footprint and lower the home energy costs of its residents. After the success of the Energy Challenge last year, the Task Force launched a second Energy Challenge on Jan. 1, which will last until July 1.
“It’s going great. We’re seeing more signups and I think we’ll exceed the 2014 challenge,” said John Kydes, chairman of the Task Force. For every home energy audit performed, participants save an average of $250 per year on their home energy bill and Norwalk’s Home Energy Solutions donates $75 to the Task Force, allowing them to host programs such as the Student Engineering and Science Program.
“This has opened the door for a relationship between the Board of Education and the Maritime Aquarium, and there’s talks of other programs and collaborative efforts,” Kydes said.
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