By Tim Leeds
Students, faculty and staff at Havre High School are working to recycle material into a fountain in recognition of Earth Day, Sunday, April 22.
Brett Hamilton, biology teacher at Havre High, said he has been working for two years to use an old satellite dish, pipe and other material to recycle into a fountain behind the cafeteria at the high school.
"I wanted do a recycling project with the advanced biology class, to do something for Earth Day," Hamilton said. "It's kind of what advanced biology is all about, ecology slash environmentalism."
Once the project is completed, the satellite dish will provide a pond 10 feet across and 18 inches deep, with a pipe providing a fountain above it and the water recycled to run back into the pond in a stream over a waterfall. A dual-output pump will provide both the fountain and pump the water back out to come in on the stream.
Hamilton said the project is dual-purposed as far as ecology goes. As well as using almost entirely recycled items to make the pond, it will provide a mini-ecosystem for the biology students to study in the future. He said it is an annual project for the advanced biology students to collect specimens of local plants and animals, and this year they will stock the pond with them, and use it to study the environment.
Hamilton said recirculating the water through the stream will keep it a fresh-water environment, and one of the ongoing projects will be to study the quality of the ecosystem and environmental effects.
Hamilton said the goal is to stock the project with native plants and invertebrate animals to study in the ecosystem. He said he hopes the project crosses curriculum at the school, and could be used by art students for their projects, other science classes and even mathematics, to study volumes and velocity and such things.
Hamilton said many people in the school district have been supportive and helpful to the project, including Havre High Principal Jim Donovan, Havre Public Schools Director of Operations Ric Floren and members of the maintenance team, especially Gary Ranes and Chuck Lowen, who have been highly involved.