Gay’s inventive winning program, “Environmental Appraisal of the Emerald Necklace Park System,” aims to help students at the Boston Latin School (BLS) make connections to the global issues of climate change and sustainability by relating them to the local urban environment of Boston and conducting an annual environmental appraisal of the Emerald Necklace Park (ENP) system. BLS is located in the heart of the park system which boasts more than 1,000 acres of diverse ecosystems. Students will utilize PASCO scientific probes and Apple iPad technology, which allows them to track and analyze their measurements in real time and upload data, images and video collected in the field. Students will evaluate the ecosystem of the ENP by conducting water quality audits, as well as measuring soil and air quality. They will also discover and monitor the diversity of local vegetation and animal life. The project will improve learning by taking students out of the classroom and placing them in the field to conduct authentic scientific research. After completing the data collection and analysis, students will present a report to the Emerald Necklace Conservancy and make recommendations for improvements and sustainability of the park system. Gay lives in Beverly.