Babylon Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer recently presented local students with scholarship prizes for their environmental science projects at the Town’s Annual Earth Day Celebration. Joining Supervisor Schaffer in presenting the scholarships were Deputy Supervisor Tony Martinez, Councilwoman Jacqueline Gordon, Councilman Tom Donnelly, Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory, Receiver of Taxes Corinne DiSomma and Babylon Village Mayor Ralph Scordino.
Ten scholarship prizes were presented to thirteen students from schools within the Town of Babylon as part of the annual Babylon Covantage EcoTech Scholarship Contest. This scholarship program is a public/private partnership between the Town and Covanta, which operates the energy-from-waste facility in West Babylon. It is designed to encourage students who are doing science fair projects or advanced study projects in environmental science courses to focus on renewable energy sources, greenhouse gas reduction, development of alternative building materials or any other means to reduce global warming and environmental degradation.
This year’s contest featured over fifty projects by students from seventh to twelfth grade from school districts across the Town. The top three prizes this year were all claimed from students from Babylon Junior-Senior High School. Two years ago, the school received a sizeable donation from local nursing home owner Theresea Santmann for a dedicated science lab, which has led to projects from the school being showcased as part of exhibits at Brookhaven National Laboratory and Rockefeller University in New York City. Deputy Superintendent Peter Daly, Principal Al Cirone and teacher Claire Birone were in attendance for the scholarship presentation, where they were honored for their schools great accomplishments.
Also recognized at this year’s event was science teacher Dr. Daniel Leccese of Copiague Middle School, who had the highest rate of participation in this year’s competition. There were twenty seven projects submitted to this year’s competition from Dr. Leccese’s classes.
This year’s winners were:
First Place - $1,000: Sarah Mikovic, Meredith Wardell and Emily Brown of Babylon Junior-Senior High School for “The effect of apricot kernels, a proven natural pesticide, on the growth of Phaseolus vulgaris and Cynodon dactylon.”
Second Place - $750: Jedidiah Dale and Maxwell Pitagno of Babylon Junior-Senior High School for “The bioremediation of 1,1,1,2-Tetrafluoroethane (R-134a) by Scenedesmus sp. as facilitated by TiO2 and activated charcoal.”
Third Place - $500: John Daniel Xavier Corcoran of Babylon Junior-Senior High School for “The effects of changing pH levels in the phytotelmata on the rate of prey decomposition in Nepenthes alata.”
Fourth Place - $300: Jessica Chiu of North Babylon High School for “Utilizing Phytoremediation to Enhance Bioremediation in Degradation of Hydrocarbons.”
Fifth Place - $200: Samuel Escobar of Robert Frost Middle School for “Heating Oil.”
Sixth Place - $175: Andrea Campos of Copiague Middle School for “Anti-Bacterial Soap and its Effect on Grass.”
Seventh Place - $125: Alan Korsiak of Robert Frost Middle School for “The Effects of Garden Insulation on a Building Rooftop.”
Honorable Mention - $100 each: • Nathan Guardado of North Babylon High School for “Comparing Organic and Synthetic Pesticides.”• Belen Morote of Copiague Middle School for “Detergents and Oil Spills.”• Samantha Howe of Robert Frost Middle School for “Flaming Peanuts.”
Pictured from back left to right with the winners are Mayor Scordino; Mark O’Brien, Covanta Babylon Inc. Facility Manager; Deputy Supervisor Martinez; Supervisor Schaffer; Theresa Santmann; Receiver of Taxes Corinne DiSomma; Presiding Officer Gregory; Councilman Donnelly; Councilwoman Gordon; Dorian Dale, Suffolk County Director of Sustainability; and Rich Groh, Town of Babylon Chief Environmental Analyst.