Funding cutbacks at the Pulaski Central School District resulted in decreased support for after-school programming. So when students interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math disciplines wanted to form an Alternative Energy Club, their teachers sought a small grant from the Pulaski Community Endowment Fund to provide the necessary resources for a rich student experience.
With the assistance of a $3,000 grant from the Pulaski Fund, science teacher Carl Nylen and technology teacher Tom Pullen were able to mentor students who participated in club challenges such as the Entergy Science Fair, KidWind Challenge, and state technology competitions across New York State.
Securing a 1994 Ford Ranger and a Mercedes diesel drive train, students created biodiesel kits from scratch and harnessed the biodiesel to power the Ford Ranger. They’ve continued harnessing biodiesel to fuel generators to sap maple syrup for their Maple Syrup Club. They will also be able to power a pumps for an Aquaponics system, designed and built by the students, to grow vegetables to sell during Friday Farmer’s Markets.
“Our community has always embraced its environment, and our success as a club over the past 5 years is a testament to the students’ passion for the environment and the concept of living more sustainably,” said Mr. Nylen.
The Alternative Energy Club is sustaining more than energy. The club has leveraged its grant from the Pulaski Community Endowment Fund to garner support from the Pulaski Teachers Association and to secure donations from community members and businesses like the local Ace Hardware. This funding has helped the club to ensure that its activities can continue for several years.
“The students would never have had the opportunities they currently have if we had not received this grant, and I can’t wait to see our first round of students graduate and begin college in STEM disciplines,” said Mr. Nylen.