The Sciences at APS

You’re Invited to the 2nd Annual Allendale Community Field Day!

Allendale Community Field Day, Allendale Public SchoolsBirds and bats and butterflies — oh my!

The Second Annual Allendale Community Field Day is preparing to take flight, inviting community members to join in creating a diverse and healthy ecosystem on the Allendale Public School campus.

Grand Valley State University professor Peter Riemersma and Allendale Middle School Science teacher Keith Piccard have focused this year’s work on “Things That Fly,” and will spend this Saturday, May 18 doing three things:

  • constructing bird feeders
  • building bat houses
  • planting butterfly gardens

The two men have worked tirelessly to get a small team of community members to volunteer in ways that strengthen the program. They wish to thank:

  • Allendale Boy Scout Troop 39 for their help with bat house preparations; special thanks to Eagle Scout Alex Silas
  • GVSU Engineering Students for their work on new bird feeder designs
  • Dr. Amy Russell, GVSU Biology Bat Consultant
  • GVSU Illustration Student Kayla Traina for her lovely Flyer Design
  • Holli Ward, Butterfly Consultant
  • The Vruggink Family Garden and their help with plant germination intended to attract butterflies

Mr. Piccard and Professor Riemersma are passionate about getting students outside to better connect the science they learn in class and the real-life application of that knowledge. 

“My curriculum hasn’t changed,” said Mr. Piccard. “I’m still actively involved in stream ecology, and these projects will only help to further those interests as well. We just want to get more people involved in doing science and data collection outside. Everyone’s welcome! Students from other schools and even homeschooled kids are invited to take part in this community field day.”

Professor Riemersma agreed, noting that he has spent this entire school year on sabbatical to promote the goals of expanding science and connecting it to the world around us:

“We’re not just putting up a bat house or a bird house because it’s nice to look at — we want this to impact education. We’re working hard to create an infrastructure that will support those goals.”

Funding for this year’s Allendale Community Field Day come from Professor Riemersma’s personal grant monies, a $1,700 Allendale Community Foundation Grant, and PTA dollars.

If you would like to join the fun and build a bird house, bat house, or help to plan butterfly-attracting flowers, you’re invited to attend for FREE! For all the latest news, be sure to “like” them on Facebook!  Click HERE to do so.

Saturday, May 18: 10 am – 4 pm 

Lunch provided at the event

(rain date: May 25)

Categories: Community News, The Sciences at APS | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Allendale Middle & High School Science Olympiad Teams Go To State

The students and coaches involved in Science Olympiad are still reveling in the success they found at this year’s Regional and State Science Olympiad Competitions, and for good reason!

With the high school grabbing 21st in the state and the middle school placing 22nd in the state (up from 42nd last year!), Allendale continues to climb into the spotlight by exhibiting excellence in science application, creativity, and quick thinking.

Allendale High School Science Olympiad Team Members with Coach Brethauer

At the regionals meet in early spring, students went head-to-head against participating teams from both Kent and Ottawa counties. With hard-hitting competition from schools like Grand Haven and Grand Rapids Christian High School, Allendale High School pushed through a tough field to finish 6th out of 24 teams!

Once Regionals wrapped up, the high school team progressed to the State Science Olympiad Competition where the forestry and optics groups medaled. We are so proud that our high school team battled with 48 of the best schools in the state and left with a 21st-place overall finish!

Seniors Cody Bekkering & Michael Albachten are neighbors, classmates, and teammates.

Cody Bekkering had only positives to share from his time on the high school team. “I find that Science Olympiad is a nice extension of what I do in my normal everyday life. I appreciate being able to apply what I’ve learned in biology, physics, and chemistry to the projects and events we work on here.” Cody plans to attend MSU in the fall to study math and chemistry; he dreams of pursuing a research position after attaining his degree.

Similarly, Michael Albachten has enjoyed the challenge of Science Olympiad and looks forward to studying both geology and biology at Grand Valley State University next year. His diligence in the classroom has spurred him to pursue several AP classes, so he’ll be leaving APS with 18 college credits to his name! Having won 1st place at Regionals with his protein model, Michael desires to return to the high school as a team mentor even after graduation.

Michael Albachten explains his protein model.

Allendale Middle School Science Olympiad students have much to celebrate, as well! Their 8th place finish in the region is notable especially when considering that over 50 area middle schools competed at the regional level! This score secured a spot at the state competition where they went on to place 22nd out of 48 teams!

Allendale Middle School Science Olympiad Team Members with Coach Erdmans

Erin Sickrey’s “Write It, Do It” placed 5th at the State Competition and was the only event to medal. Her description of the challenge is reminiscent of the now-famous Apollo 13 movie scene where astronauts in space had to build a life-saving device by following the hurried directions of NASA officials on the ground.

In the “Write It, Do It” challenge, Erin had roughly 25 minutes to look at an object and describe in words only (no drawings!) how it looked and how it was constructed. At the buzzer, another team member had to take a bucket of supplies and re-create the item exactly.

That’s right: build the same item simply by reading the instructions written down! Very difficult!

Erin Sickrey earned 5th place at the State Competition for the “Write it, Do it” event.

For diligence, effort, sportsmanship, and for attaining personal and team bests, we applaud the students who so wonderfully represented Allendale this spring! Congratulations!

Categories: Students in the Spotlight!, The Sciences at APS | Tags: | 2 Comments

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