Pennsbury Enviro Science Club Honored

The Pennsbury High School Environmental Science Club, led by fac­ul­ty advi­sor, Kristen Realdine, was rec­og­nized recent­ly by the Lower Makefield Township Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) and the township’s Board of Supervisors for the club’s impres­sive work on reduc­ing envi­ron­men­tal waste and advanc­ing the instal­la­tion of water refill sta­tions at the two high school cam­pus­es. The recog­ni­tion – called the Environmental Stewardship Award – also came with a $500 cash prize from the town­ship, which will be put toward the club’s con­tin­u­ing efforts.

Club leader and PHS senior, Devisree Tallapaneni, addressed the Board of Supervisors to explain the group’s mis­sion and achieve­ments to date:As the glob­al envi­ron­men­tal cri­sis becomes more and more rel­e­vant, news and images of the dev­as­tat­ing effects of cli­mate change and pol­lu­tion are flood­ing the media. Pennsbury’s Environmental Club has long acknowl­edged these prob­lems and has attempt­ed to find viable solu­tions to com­bat them. Beginning in 2017, our club has intro­duced water bot­tle refill sta­tions to our high school in an effort to reduce the use of plas­tic bot­tles. Having fundraised exten­sive­ly each year since then, we have attained six refill sta­tions at our West cam­pus and two at our East cam­pus. To fur­ther pro­mote the use of these sta­tions, our club held a con­test among C peri­od class­es. The con­test reward­ed the use of refill­able bot­tles and dis­cour­aged the use of plas­tic ones via a point sys­tem where the class with the high­est points earned a piz­za par­ty and the class with least points received reusable straws. We have also worked as a club to improve our local com­mu­ni­ty by par­tic­i­pat­ing in var­i­ous clean-ups each year. Of par­tic­u­lar note are our bi-annual beach sweeps held at Belmar, which is an event open to the entire school. This past fall, a sub­stan­tial num­ber of stu­dents worked along­side club mem­bers to clean up along the board­walk and shore. The sight of plas­tic pieces and wrap­pers strewn across the beach greets us every year, but we do not let that dis­cour­age us. If any­thing, it is a sign that there is still more work to do. And our club knows that this work does not get done sim­ply by wait­ing for the right oppor­tu­ni­ty to com­plete it, but by cre­at­ing those oppor­tu­ni­ties our­selves.”

 She con­tin­ued, “We intend to uti­lize this gen­er­ous grant to fur­ther con­duct activ­i­ties sim­i­lar to the clean-ups and pur­sue our goals. Our main objec­tive for this year is to intro­duce water bot­tle refill­ing sta­tions to every hall­way in Pennsbury High School. And for giv­ing us this incred­i­ble oppor­tu­ni­ty to make this goal a real­i­ty, we have many we need to thank. Thank you to Principal Lisa Becker and Assistant Principal Patti Steckroat for both your con­sis­tent sup­port and for order­ing the refill sta­tions for the high school! Thank you also, to Assistant Principal Justine McEachern and Superintendent Dr. William Gretzula, for sup­port­ing us and for nom­i­nat­ing our club for this grant! And of course, thank you to Ms. Realdine for your con­tin­u­ous help with all of our projects and for always encour­ag­ing us to strive for big­ger goals. Finally, thank you to Jim Bray, the Lower Makefield Environmental Advisory Council, and all of you [Supervisors]! We will put the mon­ey towards mak­ing our com­mu­ni­ty clean­er and more sus­tain­able.”

Mr. Bray fol­lowed up after the meet­ing: “Seeing first­hand the enthu­si­asm of these young adults gives you faith that the sys­tem is work­ing and that our future is in good hands. And I know the stu­dents were very pleased that their efforts have been rec­og­nized by LMT. Again, we would like to thank the Board of Supervisors for their gen­eros­i­ty in fund­ing this award.” The EAC devel­oped the Environmental Stewardship Award in 2008 to rec­og­nize a group, busi­ness, or indi­vid­ual whose accom­plish­ments have con­tributed pos­i­tive­ly to the envi­ron­ment and to the Lower Makefield com­mu­ni­ty.

It was such a great expe­ri­ence for them,” said Ms. Realdine.