Garden City High School science teacher Michael Stano received a mini-grant from Brookhaven National Labs (BNL) and the Department of Energy (DOE) to build a vertical hydroponic garden in one of the science classrooms.
Mr. Stano explained, “I plan to use this in my AP Environmental class next year when we study Biogeochemical Cycles (water, nitrogen, carbon, phosphate, etc.), Net Primary Productivity and possibly during the waste unit when speaking about phytoremediation (using plants to breakdown hazardous materials).”
Currently, Dr. Steven Gordon's research students are using the garden to run an experiment, and that data will guide future modifications to the system.
“The students will also use the hydroponic garden to test whether rye grass is able to filter out contaminants from de-icing chemicals used to melt snow this winter,” commented Dr. Gordon.
“Right now, to enable the unit to be self-sustaining,” Mr. Stano explained, “we hooked it up to a 45-watt solar panel system that we secured with a second mini-grant from BNL and DOE.”
Mr. Stano is writing a new grant proposal to obtain the needed funds to build several more streamlined versions of the hydroponic garden to be used in classrooms around the school.