Peekskill Middle School Environmental Club To Travel To Florida For Environmental Symposium

For the last 18 years, Peekskill Middle School has taken part in the annual Wheelabrator Technologies Symposium for Environment and Education in Florida. This April 29th, ten students from the Peekskill Environmental Club will be making the trip, and as part of the presentation, they will screen a public service message called Surviving Sandy: Ways to stay safe during a major storm.

Maybe sounding like a simple matter of shifting with the wind, it's really about what could happen if Westchester communities let themselves be blown away by thinking that the next Hurricane Sandy can only amount to inconvenience.

"What we witnessed was absolutely tremendous, and we realized that Westchester was not prepared," said team member Emily Czerwinski.

In turn, Emily and her classmates’ six minute clip reserves a point blank designation for the town. "Next time we'll be ready," says Emily.

Seeing trees uprooted, downed power lines cutting off roadways and transformers ripped from their bases, this PSA understands the first order of business and hopes to get the community in alignment. "People will know how to locate emergency shelters and how to keep their homes safe," says club member Jose Pimentel.

The latter means making sure fire and carbon monoxide detectors are functioning and charged and unplugging electronic equipment so power surges don't spark fires. The PSA also instructs that electric generators should never run inside or near their homes as leakage can have deadly carbon monoxide emissions entering the household.

Of course, it never gets old to repeat the obvious, according to the PSA. Batteries, flashlights, a three day supply of food and water, a week's supply of medication and easy access to doctor's numbers are all among the easy to remember – even if they may still be lacking in many households.

Eventually getting back to school after all the outages then helped fill in the blanks. "We talked to everybody, found out what people went through, and put it in the computer," said club member Arianna Hurtado.

You-tubing the PSA should have Peekskill ready with fully charged cell phones and gas tanks, secured lawn furniture, tools and toys, battery powered lamps instead of candles, supplies for pets, alternative evacuation for elderly relatives with limited mobility and extra glasses, syringes and first aid.

And the one that took them all by surprise – paperwork. "Make sure all your important documents are secure by putting things in sealed plastic bags," said Jose.

But the most important preparation is synchronization. "Make sure everyone in your family is on the same page," said Jose.

On the other hand, since the origins of climate change do not have everyone
reading from the same book, the kids are mostly staying away from the politics in their PSA. At the same time, it is part of the knowledge they are trying to build upon in their work, according to Peekskill Middle School Teacher and club advisor Scott Tabone. “Warming temperatures made the storm double back and hit our area again. So we’re doing our own research and learning how global warming is contributing to these storms that are becoming almost a norm for the east coast,” says Tabone.

Nonetheless, the altered seasonal forecast of our times still allows for safe passage to Florida later this month. But the ease of which kids will take to the stage for the presentation has little relation to the shift in the weather and remains a constant of previous experience. “I was really nervous,” says 8th grader Birch Lazo-Murphy, “because they are all looking at you – watching every move to see if you might make a mistake. But I don’t think I’m going to be nervous this year. They’re all just watching so it’s not really a big deal.”

As significant a life skill that is, the kids seemed to hold a consensus on what looms largest in their learning. “Teamwork,” Jose gave an elevated voice to this shared sentiment.
In agreement, Mr. Tabone detailed the daily scene. “It’s just an amazing sense of teamwork that comes out of these ten kids. They get closer than probably any other group in school. They work everyday with each other, travel to another state to represent Peekskill and the middle school so I think teamwork is definitely what these kids are all about,” Tabone says.
Either way, it all should merit a cool ten day break from April showers and middle school homework. Not quite, according to Mr. Tabone, but hopefully there is a day at the beach for these community and socially conscious middle schoolers, who have one encompassing message in the event of any emergency. “Don’t panic,” concluded Jose.
As long as Peekskill tunes to their PSA – it shouldn’t be a problem.
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Article Written By richmonetti

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Last updated on 28-07-2016 327 0

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