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Category Archives: Press Release

Introduction to Dendrochronology

Last week the Windham-Ashland-Jewett (WAJ) science club got to think about the forest ecosystem in a whole new way!   Andrew Randazzo (CCE Environmental Educator) and Deb Valerio (teacher from WAJ) helped familiarize club participants with dendrochronology.  Dendrochronology is the study of tree age using tree rings. It is used to both understand tree growth patterns as well as atmospheric and climatic conditions.

Developing an understanding of dendrochronology helps students paint a big picture.   A picture that displays the interconnected nature of the forest ecosystem.  Through the use of a Lab-aids dendrochronology kit as well as an increment borer students made connections between tree growth, weather patterns and the availability of water.  All with a focus on field based instruction and learning.

The WAJ Science club would not be possible without the generous financial support of The Windham Foundation.

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Windham Foundation Funds Science Field Trips

What a great school year it has been for the students from Windham-Ashland-Jewett’s (WAJ) Science Club. For six sessions out of the year these students got the chance to explore the Forest Ecosystem at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia and Greene Counties’ Siuslaw Model Forest.   The club participants wrapped up another great year with two sessions in June covering stream ecology as well as freshwater fishing.

With the help of Fran Martino (River Haggie Outdoors) and Deb Valerio (WAJ Teacher), CCE Environmental Educator Andrew Randazzo taught the group about the importance of water conservation.   The WAJ Science Club studied stream quality by assessing macroinvertebrates, studied water temperature and PH and got a chance to learn about fish identification.   Not to mention, they got to spend an afternoon fishing!   For some students it marked the first opportunity they have had to get out and fish, for others it was the first time they thought of fishing through the lens of conservation.   While it may be sad the club is ending for the year, no one can say our year of learning wasn’t memorable!  Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia and Greene Counties looks forward to continuing the club next year with programming on Citizen Science.  Thank you Windham Foundation for funding an amazing year of learning.  The WAJ Science Club would not be possible without the generous financial support of The Windham Foundation. Their support has enabled the science club to run for several years, offering young people an exciting chance to learn about the natural world.

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WAJ Science Department Visits the Sugar Maples Farm

Nature doesn’t let us pick and choose our weather. So, when the high school biology class got on the bus to travel to Maplecrest, home of Sugar Maples farm, on June 6th, everyone wondered what they would do in the rain. The class quickly learned that farming must continue, rain or shine. The Field Trip, organized by Mrs. Li of the high school science department at Windham Ashland Jewett Central School and Dawa Sherpa, the Sugar Maples Caretaker and Farm Coordinator, was a great learning experience for all. “As we live in a rural setting, it is extremely important to understand the beauties of agriculture and nature,” said senior, Kevin Mattice. “Because of the trip, I was able to appreciate the hard work that farmers must do to provide fresh vegetables to the community.” In such a one-of-a-kind community, students are very fortunate to be able to visit a local agricultural farm to see how their vegetables start as tiny seeds and turn into delicious, healthy foods that are enjoyed by everyone. Although the weather restricted the farming experience to indoors, the students were still able to participate in many activities such as planting seeds in the greenhouse and packaging vegetables in the farm house. At the end of the day, the students took home the plants that they potted themselves. Supported by the Windham Foundation, the field trip to the Sugar Maples farm was a rewarding and fun day for the kids of WAJ.

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Dental Care in the WAJ Community

The WAJ community was all smiles as students and their families participated in the Dental Van Service sponsored by the Windham Foundation. Through the Columbia Memorial Hospital Dental Unit, which consists of dentists and hygienists, patients received free dental services in an operational van with all the tools they need for a fully functional practice. Among the services were routine check-ups, cleanings, extractions, x-rays and tooth sealants. The dental team came to WAJ every Tuesday and Friday in the month of June to help the community with their dental needs.

In additional to working with children and adults, the dental team visited each elementary school classroom and taught the kids about the significance of dental hygiene. With education being one of the keys to the Windham Foundation’s mission, the students learned how to keep their teeth clean and healthy as well as what to eat and avoid for maintaining oral health. To further encourage the kids, they were given goodie bags at the end of their appointments that included a toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss and a reading book of their choice. Keep smiling and thanks to Windham Foundation for again, helping our town and the people who live here.

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