Student-Built Solar Greenhouse Grand Opening Set For Friday At Welsh Hills School, Granville
Posted: April 26, 2002
A collaborative project between Denison University and The Welsh Hills School comes to fruition at 3 p.m. on Friday (May 3) -- the grand opening of a solar greenhouse and solar electric demonstration system being constructed by students from both schools. The event will be held at the Welsh Hills School, 2610 Newark-Granville Road in Granville, Ohio.
DU student Amanda Sage '02 drills while Jen Firth '02 holds one of the posts for the new solar greenhouse.
The project was initially established jointly by Abram W. Kaplan, associate professor and director of environmental studies at Denison University, and Evelyn Hoyt Frolking, head of Welsh Hills School. Each spring, the graduating senior environmental studies majors at Denison gather for a last class together, a community-based, hands-on seminar focused on a single real-world project. Each year the class takes on a different "client," and engages in a project that hopes to make a difference and integrate the education the students have obtained during their Denison career.
This term, Kaplan's class has been working with the Welsh Hills School, a small independent school in Granville, to raise energy awareness and create two tangible elements that will help to foster school activities and teaching in the years to come. These elements are a solar electric demonstration system (part of the national "Solar Schools" program) and a greenhouse to support on-going gardening efforts at the school. The Denison students have been teaching the WHS students on a regular basis (a few hours per week) and have developed curricula, specified the greenhouse design, obtained a contractor/educational-consultant, and prepared the WHS children for the construction process. For the last two weeks, the two groups have worked side by side, digging trenches, drilling holes, shoveling gravel, and now actually constructing the greenhouse itself. [Note: Many digital pictures available. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get as attachments.]
DU volunteer William Morse '02
The Denison students have also taken on the fundraising challenge. The total budget for both systems is close to $25,000, and the students found nearly $17,000 through a variety of sources. By writing grant proposals, contacting potential donors, and seeking in-kind contributions, the students (with help from Kaplan and Frolking) raised sufficient funds to make the project fly. They also experienced the disappointment and confusion that is so common in the real world of project development, when a local foundation first applauded their outstanding proposal and then rejected it for unknown reasons. When Kaplan presented his class with the options - to simply drop the project, consolidate the class objectives, or seek other funding - the class unanimously chose to find more money and they successfully filled in the last $7,000 of missing funds.
Funding has come from many sources: the Fund for Environmental Education, American Electric Power, the Denison University Service Learning Center, Atlas Greenhouse Company, a WHS parent, and a host of local in-kind providers (including Nation's Rent, Granville Lumber, 84 Lumber, Van Wey Sand & Gravel, Newark Concrete Products, and others).
The WHS students have benefited from the interaction with college students, have learned much new information relating to energy, and have worked on their own energy/greenhouse projects, which will be highlighted at the grand opening. Both groups of students have written reflective journals, and will share their impressions as part of the celebration.
Scheduled for the grand opening is an appearance by Wattson the Robot, the official spokesrobot for Ohio Electric Choice. There will be a presentation by both groups of students, a ribbon-cutting ceremony, and refreshments. Please contact Abram Kaplan at 740-587-6736 or Evelyn Frolking at 740-522-2020 for further information.
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