Jr. Solar Sprint Competion

JrSolar-logoJr. Solar Sprint
will be in Derry this Saturday

Come cheer for your favorite middle school teams from Derry while they compete in a Junior Solar Sprint competition on Saturday, June 7th at the Pinkerton Academy Track. Registration begins at 9 am and the races start at 10 am. Free refreshments will be served.

Students from Gilbert H. Hood and West Running Brook middle schools will compete against each other in a Junior Solar Sprint (JSS) competition in Derry, NH on Saturday, June 7th at the Pinkerton Academy Track. JSS is a national program that was developed to provide a hands-on opportunity for students to apply Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) concepts, creativity, and problem-solving skills as they design, construct, and race solar-powered cars.

solarcarEach Junior Solar Sprint team is required to design and build a model car no larger than 30 cm x 60 cm x 30 cm. The cars must be powered by sunlight using a solar photovoltaic cell that converts the sun’s energy into electricity. Students must consider such critical factors as aerodynamic drag, rolling resistance, weight, and drive train when designing their cars for speed and reliability. The race is a double elimination competition with awards going to the fastest car. Awards also will be given in design categories including most creative and best craftsmanship.

“Students have an exciting opportunity to apply the scientific concepts they are learning in class to a real-world challenge with Junior Solar Sprint,” says Tom Minnon, a member of the Derry Energy & Environmental Advisory Committee, sponsors of the event. “Kids develop teamwork and problem-solving abilities, investigate environmental issues, gain hands-on engineering skills, and use principals of science and math to get the fastest, most interesting, and best crafted vehicle possible,” he said.

Registration starts at 9:00, on June 7th, at Pinkerton Academy in Derry, NH. Races will begin at 10:00 and the awards ceremony will take place following the races. The Junior Solar Sprint program is sponsored by the U.S. Army Educational Outreach Program and is run by the Technology Student Association.

Learn more about the event at www.jrsolarsprint.org.

The Dirt on Dirt!

The past few days have not been spring-like or even resembling summer at all.  But there are a lot of critters beginning to emerge and doing their spring work.  Especially those in the soil that break down leaf litter and turn it into black gold – fertile soil.  For those of us that live above the soil, we fertilize our lawns and gardens to give the seedlings a burst of nutrients.  Others have found that recycling our food scraps into compost works just as well and has the added benefit of reducing our municipal solid waste.

According to the U.S. EPA, we generate 4.38 pounds of municipal solid waste (a.k.a. garbage that goes to the landfill or incinerator) per DAY!  In 2012, we diverted (through composting and recycling) 1.48 pounds of that leaving only 2.9 pounds per day to go to the landfill/incinerators.  What does that mean for Derry?  If we divert (recycle or compost) some of our garbage, we reduce the amount that the town has to pay for a company to haul off our garbage.

I never thought that I produced that much solid waste, but after seeing the amount of garbage versus recycling and composting that we do as a household, I have to say that it really does make a difference!  Based upon EPA data, 28% of our garbage is food scraps and yard trimmings – why not turn that into valuable compost for our own property?

Go Green Derry and the Energy and Environmental Advisory Committee of Derry will be hosting a Composting Workshop this Saturday, May 31st at the Community Gardens at Broadview Farm on Young Road, 9 AM.  Please join us to learn about how you can divert food scraps from our municipal solid waste stream, help out Derry’s bottom line,  AND make wonderful compost for your lawn and garden!

Warm Weather!

So I don’t know about you, but I am excited to spend some time outdoors in this beautiful weather. Yesterday I went on a trail ride and it was beautiful to see ducks in ponds, a pilieated woodpecker, and lots of plants beginning to bloom. One of those happens to be the Japanese Knotweed. I noticed along my road that a bunch of shoots are making their way out of the ground. The Derry Conservation Commission is making a large effort to map where these knotweed stands are. If you can identify it, please cut it and bag it. Do not let the living stems lie on the ground as they will re-root and grow! Please contact us if you have any questions or would like help identifying it. In the meantime, plant natives and enjoy the outdoors!