GRANBY - The Salmon Brook Ecology Center,
located on the campus of the Granby Memorial Middle and High Schools
in Granby, was officially dedicated at a ceremony held on the
campus grounds on Thursday evening, May 13, 2004. A group of about
200 citizens, school personnel and local dignitaries attended.
The Center, a freestanding structure, incorporates the latest
in "green" technology, utilizing geothermal energy for
heating and cooling and solar cells that convert the sun's energy
to electricity. These renewable energy systems are non-polluting
and thought by many to be important alternative energy sources
for the future.
The Ecology Center was built, in part, with $400,000 in funds from the Granby Education
Foundation (GEF). The GEF is a nonprofit organization that nourishes educational excellence by raising private funds in support of innovative educational initiatives for people of all ages in Granby and surrounding towns. The GEF is directed by an all-volunteer board and supported by contributions from residents, businesses, and other charitable organizations.
The idea for an ecology center was the brainchild of seventh-grade
science teacher Bruce Boehm.
"Kids need a hook into education and I say that tongue in
cheek in a way," said Boehm, "because here at the center,
one of the things we do is raise fish as part of a learning experience.
We are not a vo-ag school but we are still using real-life situations
in the learning process. As for the kids, they are chomping at
the bit to get in here. They literally get sucked into learning
by the care that they five to the plants and fish at the center."
As an example, Boehm says that he has the children check the water
temperature and the pH of the fish tanks to assess optimum levels.
Another example is that he has the students monitor the energy
meter and calculate the amount of energy that the photovoltaic
cells are producing.
"Everyone wins and everyone wins and the students are not
even aware that they are learning," said Boehm.
"He is an outstanding teacher and he gives a lot of energy
to his students," said 22-year-old Doug Grant, a former student
of Boehm's who now works for the United States Geological Service.
"He pretty much started my whole foundation in the science
field. This center is a tremendous give-back to the community.'
As for the community, they came together to support the project
with all the generosity and selflessness of a proud parent.
"This whole building was build by laymen, not construction
specialists," said Ted Cutler of Tecton Architects, the design
form for the building. So many people came here to volunteer to
do whatever was needed, from wielding a hammer to whatever."
Cutler estimated that this community volunteerism helped save
thousands of dollars on the cost of the project.
"You need a foundation to build a good house," said
Boehm during his address to the gathering. "You guys have
reached into your wallets and provided the money to make the center
a reality. You are that foundation and I thank you all from the
bottom of my heart."
The brown trout fingerlings that the center raises will be released
into the streams in Granby and the plant material that is grown
hydroponically will be distributed to the community.
The center will serve Granby students and will also work cooperatively
with students in other communities in the study of science, ecology
and related fields.
By :Jay Nowakowski, Correspondent for Shelton
Weekly.com May 21, 2004