The Salmon Brook Ecology Center | May 2004
Salmon Brook Ecology Center is an ideal location to learn about the multiple advantages of clean energy.
Indeed, this 1,500-square-foot building, created by the Granby Education Foundation, is regularly used to inspire Granby High School and Middle School students to become knowledgeable environmental stewards.
The Center contains fish tanks and equipment for raising trout that are released into the local streams, and a nursery for growing plants in water.
Designed to be environmentally friendly, the building uses geothermal energy for heating. The 18 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on the roof convert sunlight directly into power to meet the center’s routine electricity needs, which are equivalent to the electricity demands of a three-bedroom house. A 2019 survey followed the electricity production for a month surrounding the vernal equinox (March) and found that the average production was 10kW per day. There is potential to produce 27kW per day.
The Ecology Center has its own weather station which was made possible through a 2014 GEF grant. The web-based station will expand the use of the Ecology Center into all classrooms throughout the district, providing real-time data for use in a variety of curriculums including science, broadcast, and world language.
The station includes: Thermometers, barometers, anemometers, hygrometers, and wind vanes. The data collected will support many areas of curriculum, including science, morning broadcasts, and world language. It will also expand the use of the ecology center as the data will be available to all of the schools in the district via the internet and will be on-going throughout the entire year. Click here for a live link.
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GRANBY - The Salmon Brook Ecology Center, located on the campus of the Granby Memorial Middle and High Schools in Granby, was officially dedicated at a ceremony held on the campus grounds on Thursday evening, May 13, 2004. A group of about 200 citizens, school personnel and local dignitaries attended.
The Center, a freestanding structure, incorporates the latest in "green" technology, utilizing geothermal energy for heating and cooling and solar cells that convert the sun's energy to electricity. These renewable energy systems are non-polluting and thought by many to be important alternative energy sources for the future.
The Ecology Center was built, in part, with $400,000 in funds from the Granby Education Foundation (GEF). The GEF is a nonprofit organization that nourishes educational excellence by raising private funds in support of innovative educational initiatives for people of all ages in Granby. The GEF is directed by an all-volunteer board and supported by contributions from residents, businesses, and other charitable organizations.
The idea for an ecology center was the brainchild of seventh-grade science teacher Bruce Boehm.
"Kids need a hook into education and I say that tongue in cheek in a way," said Boehm, "because here at the center, one of the things we do is raise fish as part of a learning experience. We are not a vo-ag school but we are still using real-life situations in the learning process. As for the kids, they are chomping at the bit to get in here. They literally get sucked into learning by the care that they five to the plants and fish at the center."
As an example, Boehm says that he has the children check the water temperature and the pH of the fish tanks to assess optimum levels. Another example is that he has the students monitor the energy meter and calculate the amount of energy that the photovoltaic cells are producing.
"Everyone wins and everyone wins and the students are not even aware that they are learning," said Boehm.
"He is an outstanding teacher and he gives a lot of energy to his students," said 22-year-old Doug Grant, a former student of Boehm's who now works for the United States Geological Service. "He pretty much started my whole foundation in the science field. This center is a tremendous give-back to the community.'
As for the community, they came together to support the project with all the generosity and selflessness of a proud parent.
"This whole building was build by laymen, not construction specialists," said Ted Cutler of Tecton Architects, the design form for the building. So many people came here to volunteer to do whatever was needed, from wielding a hammer to whatever."
Cutler estimated that this community volunteerism helped save thousands of dollars on the cost of the project.
"You need a foundation to build a good house," said Boehm during his address to the gathering. "You guys have reached into your wallets and provided the money to make the center a reality. You are that foundation and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart."
The brown trout fingerlings that the center raises will be released into the streams in Granby and the plant material that is grown hydroponically will be distributed to the community.
The center will serve Granby students and will also work cooperatively with students in other communities in the study of science, ecology and related fields.
Article By :Jay Nowakowski, Correspondent for Shelton Weekly.com May 21, 2004