Students clean-up outside class

Published 11:21 pm Thursday, April 28, 2005

By By RANDI K. PICKLEY / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Niles High School students are for the birds. Literally.
Members of the Ecology Club have been studying birds and preparing projects on bird habitats to present to the elementary schools in preparation for the Michigan Envirothon on May 11 and 12.
Senior Anthony Austin said, "We've got to make the world a better place."
The Michigan Envirothon is a statewide competition in which students form teams and take tests about nature management and sustainable agriculture and other environmental issues. The teams travel to farms for the agricultural part of the test and to woods for the forestry portion.
Teams are not allowed to bring resources with them to the test sites; their answers must be from memory. The teams answer questions as a group rather than individually since they are judged on their accumulated knowledge.
Niles High School has two teams competing in the two-day event: the Raptors and the Ducklings.
As part of the Community Project portion of the test, the Raptor Team has researched the hows and whys of the bird world. They plan to meet with elementary students and talk about how birds fly, let the students look at an actual bird's wing, and watch a video about birds.
The Ducklings Team will divide sixth grade students at Eastside School into five groups and then help them make and assemble wooden bird-houses for Wood Ducks.
There are seven categories for the competition: Forestry, Energy, Wildlife, Soils/Geology, Sustainable Agriculture, Envoironmental Issues, and the Community Project.
The teams are part of a larger group called the Ecology Club, which was started in 1994 by Eira McDaniels, a science teacher at Niles High School.
In addition to the competition and its community project requirements, the Ecology Club members also bring their environmental concerns even closer to home.
Each Friday during the school year, club members go around to the classrooms at the high school to gather papers, plastic, newspapers, and ink cartridges from the recycling boxes in each room. They sort the refuse, stack it, and place it in large bins to await pick up. The students said they are pleased to be contributing to a cleaner world through their efforts.
The club will also be donating to Fernwood Botanic Garden and Nature Center several birds from their taxidermy collection that the science department houses.