Planet of the APES: AP Environmental Science Talks Wetlands

Cian O’Neill, Opinion Editor

Joyce Dibble’s AP Environmental Science class has just entered a competition that could put $1,000 in a lucky students pocket, and $10,000 towards a wetlands recovery program.

The competition asks students to submit ideas of how to improve or restore California’s wetlands regions. These areas include the Delta and San Francisco/Marin marshlands.

“It’s a great opportunity,” senior Ryan Lin said.

“It’s not everyday you get the chance to have your ideas listened to by a group of people willing to actually do something, and reward you for your work.”

California is rife with issues regarding water. From the pollution caused by large-scale cattle ranching, to the system by which Northern California provides the south of the state with the majority of its water, there is no shortage of problems to tackle.

“We decided to look at how the contamination of groundwater can harm the ecosystems around the Delta,” senior Bethany Bayer said.

The concentration of toxic elements like molybdenum has gradually risen with the expansion of the central valley’s farming industry.

“We wanted to look at real problems, and suggest a way to make a real difference,” senior Sam Woldeyes said. “You just get so much more excited about working on a project when you know its meaningful.”

“I have really enjoyed learning about the challenges that we are going to face in the coming 100 years,” junior Keenan Fine said. Rio Americano is the first school in the district to run an AP Environmental Science class.

One of our students ideas has made it to the finals. Senior Hannah Barnes’ proposal for on-site vermicutlture at schools joined 11 other proposals as finalists to be considered for a $10,000 grants and $1,000 personal award.

“The cash would be really great,” Barnes said. “The grant would actually allow me to get my idea in motion.”

Vermiculture is the use of earth worms to compost material. Studies have shown that composted soil from worms promotes growth 70 percent more than regular compost.