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environmental science

Byron-Bergen Teacher Joins Great Lakes Research Voyage

By Press Release
Participants on Lake Guardian research voyage.
Pete Spence is 5th from right.

Press Release:

On July 6, Byron-Bergen Secondary Science Teacher Pete Spence boarded the U.S. EPA Lake Guardian for a seven-day voyage to conduct research on Lake Ontario. Spence was one of 15 participating teachers taking part in the annual expedition which collected data in several locations looking at algae, zooplankton, and benthic organisms.

“I was interested in doing research on the Great Lakes, so I applied and was accepted,” said Spence. He requested and was assigned to the team examining differences in zooplankton populations from the east to the west end of the lake. “We also used acoustic (sonar) techniques to locate migratory shrimp species that stay on the bottom of the lake during the day and move toward the surface at night.”

Spence also assisted in research teams collecting blue-green algae levels at depths up to 40 meters and quagga mussel populations from 60 to 120 meters deep. The Lake Guardian docked in Youngstown and the participants toured the Niagara Falls gorge, an experience which many of the out-of-state teachers had never had. They then set out to collect a series of samples starting from the Welland Canal and crossing the lake to Toronto.

During one memorable experiment, the crew submerged Styrofoam cups in one of the deepest parts of Lake Ontario to observe how pressure impacts volume. The water pressure compressed them to approximately half of their original size. “I plan to have my students write their names on Styrofoam cups which I will send to the EPA for this experiment,” said Spence. “After they have been submerged in Lake Superior and returned to us, the students can measure the changes.”

Seven days after setting out on Lake Ontario, the crew disembarked at Port Rochester on July 12. “One of the things that I’m bringing back to Byron-Bergen is using the Great Lakes in my Environmental AP class,” said Spence. “The Great Lakes have always been of interest to me, being that we live so near them, I think it’s a great opportunity for students to see the bigger picture.”

Spence examines map with researchers
Spence and colleagues collect samples, Pete Spence is on right.
Lake Guardian research participants, Pete Spence is back right 

Spots still open for Environmental Science Career Exploration Camp, deadline is July 9

By Billie Owens

Press release:

Spots are still open for Environmental Science Career Exploration Camp at the Genesee County Park & Forest! Explore 10 different careers in Environmental Science with outdoor activities guided by professionals.

This program is intended for students entering eighth, ninth, 10th, 11th or 12th grade in the fall.

This weeklong adventure includes wildlife surveys, wetland studies, a K9-assisted investigation, a field trip, and more. Camp meets Monday through Friday, July 16th – 20th from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Interpretive Nature Center at the Genesee County Park & Forest.

All materials, lunch and snacks are provided each day along with a camp T-shirt. Cost is $95/camper for the entire week. Registration deadline has been extended to Monday July 9th.

To register, download the registration form from the website here.

Return completed forms with payment to:

Main Office
Genesee County Park & Forest Interpretive Nature Center

153 Cedar St.
Batavia, NY 14020

Registration ends Monday, July 9th.

For more information visit here, or contact Shannon Lyaski at or 344-1122.

Two summer camps offered at GC Park & Forest: Environmental Science Career Exploration, and one to learn building trades

By Billie Owens

Press release:

The Genesee County Park & Forest Interpretive Nature Center is pleased to announce two summer camps for area youth in 2017: Environmental Science Career Exploration Camp and Camp Hard Hat.

Environmental Science Career Exploration Camp

Interested in a career in Environmental Science, but not sure which one? We have the summer camp for you!

Join us for Environmental Science Career Exploration Camp at Genesee County Park & Forest in East Bethany. Campers will meet from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday through Friday, July 10-14, at the Interpretive Nature Center.

Students entering eighth through 11th grades will view presentations and do hands-on activities led by professionals in 10 different fields of Environmental Science during this weeklong experience. Careers include Forestry, Animal and Plant Regulation, Soil and Water Conservation, Environmental Planning, Wildlife Management, Environmental Education, and more.

Campers will explore two different careers each day, including the education, skills and training requirements for each job. Campers will then head outside to try their hand at “work” projects guided by professionals. Camp is $95/camper and includes a camp T-shirt, lunch, snacks and supplies. 

Explore the world of environmental conservation at New York State’s First County Forest! Registration ends Tuesday, June 27.

To register, download the registration form by clicking here.

Return completed forms with payment to:

Genesee County Parks, Recreation & Forestry

Attn: Paul Osborn
153 Cedar St.
Batavia, NY 14020

Camp Hard Hat

Students entering eighth, ninth and 10th grade will have the opportunity to build a wooden trail walkway and a bridge at Genesee County Park & Forest in East Bethany this summer!

The program is presented in partnership with the Business Education Alliance of Genesee County, the Business Education Alliance of Livingston County, the Business Education Council of Wyoming County, and GVEP Building Trades.

Camp Hard Hat will be live and in action from 9 a.m. to  4 p.m. Monday through Friday, July 31 to Aug. 4, at the Interpretive Nature Center.

Instructors Rich Monroe and Jared Radesi will teach campers the principles of design and construction, project safety, and the power of teamwork. Campers will use math, process-thinking skills, battery-powered tools (including cutting tools) to complete a walkway and a bridge in Genesee County Park & Forest.

For the Camp Hard Hat registration form, click here. (Scroll down until you see Camp Hard Hat.)

For more information contact Shannon Morley at or phone (585) 344-1122.

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