Scott Nelson, Jane Lose, Ronnie Freeland, LaVeral Graf, Angie Cooke, Ashley Daigle
Nelson and his colleagues’ winning program, “Operation Interface: Mentoring Through Innovation,” is designed to have students use scientific methods to study, evaluate and ultimately protect an isolated wetland on the school’s campus. They want to improve student achievement by establishing a technology-driven environmental curriculum that will give students real-world experience. Students will use handheld computer interface devices with probes to test and evaluate parameters such as water, soil and organic qualities of the wetland. They will also capture data daily and log it in journals which will be compared to wetlands in other locations, both locally and across the United States. Additionally, they will establish a hydroponics program that creates a bridge between the general education and special education populations at Baker High School. Students from both populations will work together to grow and monitor the growth of lettuce using this innovative hydroponic system. The new hydroponic system will live within the existing “outdoor classroom” that boasts walking trails, a boardwalk, an amphitheater with seating for more than 200 people, a rainwater collection system and some retention ponds. According to Nelson and his team, more than 1,000 students will benefit from this program within the first two years of implementation.