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NYSERDA-Sponsored School Program Uses Adirondack Loons to Teach About Pollution

January 19, 2011

The Adirondack loon – and the threat that pollution poses to this iconic symbol of northern lakes– is the subject of a new classroom program co-sponsored by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

“The Ecological Impact of Pollution – Conservation Through the Lives of Adirondack Loons” is a new, Web-based classroom curriculum designed for high-school science classes and available free to teachers around New York.

The program is part of the innovative Science on the Fly! curriculum that uses loon mercury research in New York’s Adirondack Park to teach students how pollution can damage the environment. The research comes from the BioDiversity Research Institute’s (BRI) Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation, a not-for-profit based in Gorham, Maine that produced the curriculum with support from NYSERDA, the Dorr Foundation, The Wild Center, and the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Adirondack Program.

The curriculum teaches about a variety of environmental issues: how airborne chemicals interact with soils and aquatic habitats; the impact of pollution on wildlife, ecosystems and humans; efforts both close to home and across the world to reduce pollution; and conservation activities that students can practice in their own communities.

The Science on the Fly! website also lets educators track students’ progress as they follow the curriculum. The materials meet both state and national science learning standards.

“This resource will provide invaluable opportunities for participants to learn how pollution affects the environment and its wild and human inhabitants,” said NYSERDA President and CEO Francis J. Murray Jr. “This is a great addition to our New York Energy Smart Students program.”

Dr. Nina Schoch, coordinator of BRI’s Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation, said the program could encourage students to create learning projects in their own communities.

“I am very pleased that Science on the Fly! will inspire students to become actively involved in conservation through environmental service learning, thus directly contributing to the health of our environment,” she said.

To learn more about Science on the Fly! go to www.scienceonthefly.org.Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page.and to Biodiversity Research InstituteLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page.. NYSERDA offers a wide variety of programs and resources for educators and students. To learn more about free programs for New York educators, go to the NYSERDA Energy Smart® Schools Program.


NYSERDA, a public benefit corporation, offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. NYSERDA professionals work to protect our environment and create clean-energy jobs. NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in New York since 1975.

Last Updated: 09/29/2014