Students Tackle Landfill Issue
The Reveille. January 9, 2003.
One of the "hot
topics" around Seneca Falls is the Seneca Meadows Landfill
and its possible expansion. Linda Tompkins' Regents living environmental
class at Mynderse Academy wants to delve deeper into the subject.
Monday, student representative
Emily Swenson and Jen Willet asked the school board for permission
to stage an informational forum during class hours next month
to impartially look at both sides of the debate. They said the
plans are to moderate a forum and panel discussion. They plan
to invite a landfill representative, environmentalist, pro- and
anti-expansion residents from Seneca Falls and Waterloo and school
and town board representatives to "inform and educate"
the students and the public on the expansion issue. No date or
time has been set as yet.
The class has been
studying the positive and negative impacts of the landfill on
the community as a project this year. They closely monitored the
public forum sponsored by the Town of Seneca Falls in November
and have already toured the landfill.
Tompkins, who returned
to the Mynderse classroom after a two-year sabbatical, challenged
the students to find an area that just didn't look right environmentally.
With Tania Schusler,
a PhD candidate at Cornell, she reviewed a list of suggested locations
and locked into the topical landfill issue. Schusler is assisting
through in-service at Mynderse as part of her doctorate requirements
with the university's Department of Natural Resources.
The project, unlike
others Tompkins and her classes have undertaken, will have no
remediation, but will conduct research and share results through
PowerPoint presentations, scrapbooks, posters, and the panel discussion.
The mission statement
of the project is to "learn and share how Seneca Meadows
Landfill affects our community and others beyond it." That
would include land values and tourism impact.
The students, meantime,
have created model landfills in their classrooms. They emulated
a landfill operation by lining buckets, burying refuse, mapping
the material, covering, capping, and even watering to simulate
rain. This spring, the students will dig up the materials to see
how what (sic) biological changes occurred.
to approach this as unbiased as possible," said Tompkins.
She added the students are educating themselves and looking forward
to sharing their research with the community.