York River Academy Students Go Solar

Students from Veronica Warwick's class at York River Academy took on an innovative project this spring to further the sustainability of their school's greenhouse and native plant garden. Partnering with the Colonial Soil and Water Conservation District, students worked together to design and install a solar-powered irrigation system using rainwater collected from the roof in a large cistern.

This project was supported by the Urban Agriculture Initiative grant that the District received in the fall of 2018 from the National Association of Conservation Districts. The District's goal for this grant was to expand opportunities for hands-on agricultural conservation education in local schools. The District was grateful to find such motivated, enthusiastic partners to help fulfill this mission at York River Academy.

Working with District Director Charlie Morse, the students calculated how much rainfall they could collect off the school roof, installed a 500-gallon cistern and its associated plumbing, assembled two solar panels, and connected all off the electrical equipment needed to operate the system. The energy collected by the panels is used to power a battery and pump, which delivers the collected rainwater to a drip irrigation system in the native plant garden.

Opportunity to introduce students to real-world problem-solving techniques based in agricultural conservation. Now that the system is in place, future classes will have the opportunity to expand on the current set up and continue to broaden their conservation goals.

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