Sunday, April 19, 2009

RNA Seadragons on board with NABT BioClub!

Hello fellow BioClub members,

Although I signed up for my Biology Club to become a BioClub member at the NABT conference in Memphis, I have had difficultly in finding the time to sit down and take all the steps to participate--I am sure that this has been the story for so many of you. After so many attempts and months, I feel like my students and I have finally arrived!

Let me start with a brief description of our school. Our school, Rickover Naval Academy, or RNA, is a relatively new public high school in Chicago. RNA opened as a new military academy in the fall of 2005 and we will be graduating our first seniors this year. We are a small school with a student body of just under 400 students and will not exceed 600.

Our biology club is relatively new so we are still finding out what we want to accomplish and our overall direction, but we have been busy. Our first goal was to hold a fundraiser just to give us the resources to pursue our interests. We made and sold holiday cards, and delivered them just before the holiday break in December.

After the fundraiser some members decided to participate in an environmental contest sponsored by the Chicago Botanic Garden, "The Fairchild Challenge." The Fairchild Challenge offers students several ways to express their attitudes or concerns about environmental issues through a variety of mediums. I have included the web site if you are interested in learning about this competition, just go to:

A few of my students worked on the competition, "Commercial Design, Reinventing your trash" by designing and making a tote bag from used uniform pieces, a t-shirt, overcoat and pocket from a shirt. We should find out if we are a finalists by April 20th-the awards ceremony is May 10th.

Our most recent activity was a field trip to Brookfield Zoo. In Chicago we have two very good zoos, most students go to the one in the city-Lincoln Park Zoo, and few travel to the zoo outside the city, Brookfield Zoo. On the day of the trip the weather was typical of Chicago, a combination of sunshine, clouds, snow, cold-but for us it was beautiful! We had a great time!

The next project we will doing is landscaping a few of the planting beds at the entry of our school. We received a grant from Greencorps, a division of the Chicago Department of the Environment, and are looking forward to beautifying our school's entrance and providing habitat for migrating birds, insects or other animals that come to our campus.

We will let you know how our projects go and will look forward to hearing from you.

-Pat Palmer

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