Rosalind Franklin & Nicole Gorman, Unsung Heroes in Science

Ms. Sarah Clauss, CVC Science & Environmental Correspondent

When most people think of famous scientists, they think of Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, or Isaac Newton. While these are three important contributors to our body of scientific knowledge, it’s not a particularly diverse group. While the field of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) was once dominated by white men, we owe our current understanding to men and women from all nationalities, ethnicities, and origins.

Nicole Gorman teaches AP Biology at Champlain Valley Union HS. Despite the quick pace of lessons and massive amount of content that she covers, Ms. Gorman always takes time during the unit on genetics to discuss Rosalind Franklin, the woman whose chromographs of genetic material — shared by a colleague, without Franklin’s knowledge or permission — led to Watson and Crick’s double helix model of DNA.

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Rosalind Franklin, The Mother of DNA

 

Although Franklin’s work allowed Cambridge University geneticists James Watson and Francis Crick to accurately model DNA, she did not receive a Nobel Prize. Franklin died at age 37, likely a result of exposure to X-ray radiation in the line of her research.

Ms. Gorman teaches this lesson for several reasons. First, she says, “I like to talk about the scientists that contributed to our understanding/helped to explain a variety of foundational concepts… One compelling reason to point this out is to encourage students themselves to ask, discover and explain.” She also thinks that it is an important lesson in collaboration; too many young scientists think that working together is not necessary. Lastly, Gorman takes this opportunity to talk about taking credit for the work of others. “The story of Rosalind Franklin is an interesting story about how this can and does happen,” she says.

Ms. Gorman also discussed why she thinks that it’s important for students to have a diverse set of academic role models. According to her, “role models are a source of inspiration. Inspiration from many different sources ensures that you can continue to be inspired as you grow and change over time.”

In addition, she claims that having a role model that a student can identify with allows them to imagine themselves making the same choices and moving in similar directions to that person. She says, “If your role model is someone you want to be, then this desire will drive the choices you make….even if they are difficult choices. The power of thinking you are similar to someone or want to be like someone is an excellent driver of engagement, [which] drives progress.”

Rosalind Franklin is just one of many inspiring scientists in her field. But in CVU’s AP Biology classroom, her story is inspiring the scientists of a new generation.

 

New Snapchat Update Doesn’t Please the Users

Mr. Zachary Hark

Snapchat users around the world are deleting and cutting back on use of the popular app due to the recent update [10.25.2.0] that occurred on February 9th, 2018.

With over 1.2 million e-signatures on Change.com, the Snap users of the world are pushing for a reverse to the update. Nic Rumsey, a Snapchat user from the UK and the petition creator, says, “There is a general level of annoyance among users and many have decided to use a VPN app, or are using other risky apps or steps, to go back to the old Snapchat, as that is how annoying this new update has become.”

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Image from WikiCommons, showing Snapchat’s global reach

“The format makes it impossible to find what you’re looking for,” says Daniella Shaw, another Snapchat user from the UK. With over 187 million daily users, the new Snapchat update is projected to go into full effect by the end of this quarter, March 31st.

According to CNN, more than 40 million users have received the update since its release. “Some analysts believe Snapchat’s update could turn off the app’s key user base of teens and young adults in their 20s,” says Kaya Yurieff, a CNN reporter and Snapchat user.

Even Kylie Jenner isn’t the biggest fan of the update. Since her tweet on Thursday announcing she wouldn’t be using the app anymore, Snapchat’s stock has lost $1.3 billion.

Finn Wheeler, a user since 2012 says, “I’m sure that all of the distress will go away within the next month or so, once we get used to [the update], but for now it’s a pain in the butt.”

As always, the distress caused by the update will dwindle as users adjust to the new features of Snapchat, but until then users will have to use (or choose not to use) what they have.

 

Editorial: We Can’t Legalize Weed – Here’s Why

Mr.  Ethan Duncan

Dear reader,

We cannot legalize marijuana in Vermont (or any other state, for that matter). It is too dangerous to us as people and as a society. The mental and physical harm that it causes is too great, it affects the lives and well-being of America’s future (kids and young adults), and the government, as it is with everything, would be ineffective in controlling the industry.  

Marijuana undeniably has some benefits, which is probably why 22.2 million people have used it in the past month in the US, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse. According to Business Insider, glaucoma treatment, epileptic seizure control, and anxiety decrease, are just some of marijuana’s supposed medical benefits. However, it should not be available to the everyday person for recreational purposes because the risks of smoking weed outweigh any potential benefits.

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Image courtesy of ScubaBrett, via Flickr

First of all, the physical and mental harm that marijuana has on a person is simply crushing. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, marijuana affects brain development and impairs one’s long-term thinking ability, making it dangerous to young people, especially teenagers, who could suffer for the rest of their lives.

A study by the National Association of Sciences found that people who heavily smoked marijuana during their teenage years lost 8 IQ points on average between age 13 and age 38. Marijuana also causes breathing problems and lung irritation. The American Lung Association states that while they encourage the continued research of marijuana’s potential benefits, they caution the public against smoking marijuana and that it can cause “chronic bronchitis and marijuana smoke has been shown to injure the cell linings of the large airways, which could explain why smoking marijuana leads to symptoms such as chronic cough, phlegm production, wheeze and acute bronchitis.”

It also causes increased heart rate, which makes people more vulnerable to heart attacks. Studies also find that pregnant mothers who have smoked marijuana find their newborns have a lower birth weight on average and a greater chance of behavioral and brain development issues over time. Marijuana, according to LiveScience and the National Institute of Health, causes feelings of fear and panic, hallucinations, trouble concentrating, decreased ability to perform tasks, and decreased motivation. This is especially terrible for a nation in which people are developing a reputation of acting entitled and lazy.

Tim Trevithick, a counselor at CVU, spoke to the physical effects that he has seen in our own communities, stating that, “We have seen kids develop cases of cannabis psychosis. It used to be really rare, and now it is becoming less rare. Marijuana is highly celebrated by the pro-legalization side, but it is really one of the least understood drugs.”  

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CVU Sorting Stations Cause Confusion, which is Confusing

Ms. Sarah Clauss, CVC Environmental Correspondent

In 2013, CVU installed sorting stations in the cafeteria to separate trash, recycling, and compost. They were designed by students in EnACT (Environmental Action Club). Although all of the students currently at CVU have been using the stations since they started here, problems with sorting remain.

Grace Hemmelgarn and Tess Cloutier, the EnACT members leading the project to improve the stations and educate people about proper use, had some insights about why students have trouble knowing where to put their garbage. According to Hemmelgarn, “common mistakes include chip bags, brown salad boats, [and] wax paper.” Many of the items that confuse students come from food packaged by the cafeteria. For example, the salad containers are made from plant-based plastic, which is compostable. Since they look like typical plastic containers, however, they are often found in the recycling bin. Similarly, wax paper, which also belongs in the compost, often ends up in the trash. When a ‘batch’ of recycling or compost has an item that does not belong, the whole container is thrown away. In this way, more material ends up in landfills instead of where it belongs.

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Really, how hard can it be, people?

Since the installation of the sorting stations, EnACT has done several projects directed to improve sorting accuracy. EnACT members have conducted several “trash audits”, where students sorted waste pulled from the landfill and recycling bins to figure out commonly misplaced items. Posters were put up around the school with pictures of these items and their proper places in the stations.

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Environmentalism in the Kitchen: How a Plant-Based Diet Can Reduce Emissions… and be Delicious

Ms. Sarah Clauss, CVC Environmental Correspondent

When they think of emissions, most people think of cars and trucks and things that go. But our diet can have a huge effect on our carbon footprint. Livestock and their byproducts account for 51 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, according to the World Watch Institute. Essentially, the meat-lovers pizza you order might cost you more carbon than your ride home after.

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What can we do? I discussed environmental food choices with CVU student Ali Drew, who decided to cut all animal products out of her diet after watching a speech by vegan activist Gary Yourofsky. The main points addressed by Yourofsky included the environmental impacts and the ethics of consuming meat and other animal products. (His speech can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5hGQDLprA8&vl=en.) Drew says that it was difficult trying to replace foods, but she realized that it would be easier to find new vegan foods. A diet without animal products also reduces the amount of processed foods consumed, another benefit for environmentalists trying to change their habits. 

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GNU/Linux Operating System Gaining Popularity at CVU

Mr. Milo Cress, CVC Tech Guru

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CVU Senior and aspiring engineer Willem Hillier has come to rely on the GNU/Linux operating system for many of his most ambitious projects, such as a fully functioning award-winning robotic reed organ. “In our society, software has control over almost every aspect of our lives, and with open source software, there’s a transparency that comes with being able to see all the code that [the software] is built off of. What you see is what you get.”

The Free and Open Source Software movement aims to move the power of software development from large corporations to interested individuals who want to contribute to the community.

According to the Free Software Foundation, “‘Free Software means software that respects users’ freedom and community. Roughly, the term implies that the users have the freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change, and improve the software. Thus, ‘free software’ is a matter of liberty, not price. It is ‘free’ as in ‘free speech,’ not as in ‘free [drinks].”

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(Big sigh) Climate Change: Not Going Anywhere Anytime Soon

Ms. Elyse Martin-Smith, CVC Culture Correspondent

Could you imagine the devastating effects of having your home destroyed by flooding or a powerful hurricane? Could you imagine constant heat waves, like in Vermont where they are used to skiing the snowy slopes? Could you imagine getting only so much water per person, per day, because your supply is drastically low? If we continue on the path we are on in terms of global warming, this could be our reality in less than fifty years. Many people don’t realise how quickly our futures and the futures of our children will be permanently altered because of climate change. One question we should ask ourselves is: What is going to happen, and how can we fix this?

According to the 2014 National Climate Assessment, “between 1958 and 2010, the Northeast saw more than a 70% increase in the amount of precipitation falling in very heavy events (defined as the heaviest 1% of all daily events).” This battle against climate change hasn’t just begun, but in fact climate change has been a problem for quite a while. Based on this trend, scientists have begun to predict what weather changes may happen in the near future. NASA says that “heat waves, heavy downpours and sea level rise pose growing challenges to many aspects of life in the Northeast. Infrastructure, agriculture, fisheries and ecosystems will be increasingly compromised.” This is the opposite in the Southwest, where they predict increasing numbers of droughts.

the-climate-change-system

 

These extreme weather conditions will not only affect humans, but they will also affect other animal species. Near the poles, “the Arctic Ocean is expected to become essentially ice free in summer before mid-century,” according to NASA. Chittenden Core science teacher Andrea Boehmcke proposes that “[the largest consequence for the earth] is going to be rising sea levels and flooding,” which will not only shift the water cycle but also wind patterns. She also explained that there would be severe droughts as well.

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Republican Majority in Politics Harms Renewable Energy Markets

Mr. Isaac Cleveland

Screenshot 2018-02-20 at 7.57.48 AM

What does a Republican majority mean for our energy industry? There is going to be a whole lot of fracking, coal mining, oil burning, and especially a lot of deliberate ignorance. Also, let’s not forget that it will most likely screw businesses in the renewable energy markets. Surprisingly, even as a documented liberal state, Vermont is still feeling the whiplash of the GOP’s absurd power. With both Republican President Donald Trump and Republican Governor Phil Scott heading our national and statewide issues, the big wind companies in Vermont have come to a crossroads and their options aren’t looking good.

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Advantages of Using Social Media

Ms. Sophia Barton

CVU teachers, students, parents and administrators are using Twitter as a means of real time communication.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the typical high school student spends his or her day juggling five or more different activities. Students spend half their day at school and also spend time working, socializing, volunteering, and playing sports. The administrators at CVU have a heavy workload as well. CVU’s website states that the school has 1,322 students and 103 faculty. It also offers 150 courses and serves five towns: Charlotte, Hinesburg, Shelburne, Williston, and St. George.  

The school’s students and staff manage a busy life and schedule everyday. This raises the question of how to communicate, at a minute’s notice, important announcements and information. Some say the answer could be twitter. CVU math teacher and coach, Corinna Hussey, believes that “social media is how people are communicating and it can be a very positive way to connect students, staff, and community.”  Hussey states that, “Information gets out and spreads a lot faster through tweets.  Even if everyone doesn’t read the tweet, it seems that people talk about them.”

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APGOV Wire: We Need a Change in the Political Climate Regarding Climate Change

Ms. Lily Miner, APGov Correspondent

During this first year of the Donald Trump presidency, we have witnessed many questionable decisions being made for our country that not only affect us, but also those around the world in a negative way. One particular decision, however, has set our country on a path to continue the horrific damage being done to Earth. President Trump’s adjudication to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement has left us as the only nation in the world to oppose it since Syria signed to join in November. The main objective for this agreement was to restrict levels of CO2 emissions from each country. The consequences of Trump’s withdrawal are grave, as CO2 levels in the atmosphere have risen past 400 parts per million—levels that are already superseding what Earth can handle to support the flora and fauna living on it. Continuing this trend will most likely result in a mass extinction event.

Hearing the White House argue that removing us from the agreement will help boost our economy filled much of the American public as well as climate experts around the globe with a sense of outrage. We have already accumulated a surplus of evidence that man made climate change is having a drastic negative impact. In the past two decades, sea levels have risen at a rate of .13 inches, which is twice the rate of the past century. From 1992 to 2011, Greenland lost 152 billion tons of ice per year, West Antarctica lost 65 billion per year, and the Antarctic Peninsula lost 20 billion per year. Increased intensity in extreme weather including hurricanes, floods, and snowstorms has been recorded since the 1950’s. These are just a fraction of the plethora of examples. Given the massive amount of damage that has already been done, how can it be justified to place the economy as a higher priority?

Thank you to the United Nations for graciously sharing your Paris Agreement logo.

Thank you to the United Nations for graciously sharing your Paris Agreement logo.

 

This choice is especially irresponsible when considering the fact that the United States produces more excess CO2 than any other country. While there are many factors to blame, one of the largest and least necessary of these is the use of fossil fuels. They provide 81% of the energy in the United States, yet they are both incredibly harmful and incredibly easy to replace. A change needs to be made.

It is imperative that we as a global superpower begin to invest in renewable energy such as wind and solar. Many economists agree that the long term benefits from switching to renewable energy would outweigh the short term costs, improving the economy through more environmentally sound means. Certainly a more competent course of action than removing ourselves from the Paris Agreement. Though the cost of installation for these methods are pricier than more conventional ones, they have no fuel costs once they are functioning and the maintenance costs are cheaper. The United States has not only the resources, but the duty to fight against these issues. We need to combat this now, because we will not be given a second chance later.

Editor’s Note: this essay was one of the finalists of Bernie Sanders’ State of the Union Essay Contest.

 

Going “Zero Waste”: a Breakdown of the Latest Trend in Environmentalism

Ms. Sarah Clauss, CVC Environmental Correspondent

One of the largest environmental issues facing our nation is solid waste management. According to the Los Angeles Times, the United States generated about 624,700 metric tons of trash per day in 2011. Few people think about where their trash goes after it leaves the curb — but landfills are hardly the convenient solution you might assume. Landfills produce methane gas and can leech toxins into nearby water supplies. Animal habitats disappear as these waste disposal areas expand, wreaking havoc on biodiversity. The soil around landfill sites often becomes depleted of nutrients and cannot sustain agriculture.

So what is the solution? Many environmentalists have turned to living “zero waste”; they forgo single-use plastic and rely only on goods that they can reuse, recycle, or compost. Interested in getting started? Here are some tips from the experts on producing less trash.

  1. From Celia Ristow of Litterless: “Start slowly – it’s not going to happen overnight, and that’s okay! Small changes that you can stick to add up to large changes over time. I suggest making one change a week or one every other week, to give the new habit time to stick before you add another one.”
  2. From Lauren Singer of Trash is for Tossers: “I always recommend evaluating where you make the most waste and tackling those areas with preparation! For example, if you use plastic bags when you shop, make sure to bring your own reusable bags in the future. Now take this same preparation to all of the areas where you are making waste.”
  3. From Anne-Marie Bonneau of The Zero Waste Chef: “Well, for the general population, I would say my number one rule is to cut processed food and learn to cook (sort of two tips…). Most of the plastic and other trash in our waste stream comes from food packaging, and much of that comes from processed food, which isn’t healthy for us or the planet. So cut the shiny packages—chips, soda, cookies, frozen pizzas, fast food and so on—and you not only eliminate a ton of trash, you improve your diet and health.”

What are some of the challenges of adopting a lifestyle with less waste?

According to Anne Marie, “I think the biggest challenge is just getting started. If you start to analyze your trash, you might be shocked—especially by the plastic coming out of your kitchen, and also the food waste. You may not know where to start. I would suggest you start small and not try to go cold turkey all at once. Perhaps taking a reusable mug or thermos to your local café, shopping at the farmers’ market for loose produce or packing a zero-waste lunch for school. If you try to quit all at once, you may feel overwhelmed and fail. And even if you do start small, you’ll still mess up at some point. It’s inevitable. Don’t beat yourself up. Just do your best. If everyone did that, we’d be in much better shape.”

 

Opinion: ATC Privatization is the Wrong Move for Cutting Federal Spending

Image courtesy of the FAA

Image courtesy of the FAAAir Traffic Control (ATC) privatization is not the correct approach to reducing federal spending.  From the point of view of someone who flies, this is likely one of Trump’s largest missteps.

Mr. Enzo Delia

ATC privatization is an atrocious attempt to cut federal spending. Trump argues the Air Traffic Control system is, “an ancient, broken, antiquated, horrible system that doesn’t work.” Though the system isn’t without flaws, it sure isn’t as bad as he makes it seem. How would he know anyways? After all, his only airline economics experience consists of investing $365 million in his own airline only to have it come crumbling down into the depths of bankruptcy only 4 years later.

Privatization would have a horrendous effect on ticket prices. There would be an estimated 20-29% increase in ATC fees according to a 2016 Delta Airlines study. This would end up increasing prices for the consumer, as part of the cost of a ticket consists of ATC fees.

Another major issue of privatization is the federal cost associated with it. According to the Congressional Budget Office’s most recent estimate, the process of privatizing our Air Traffic Control system would cost in the ballpark of $98.5 Billion over 10 years. This money would come from taxpayers, and tax payers may not be able to cover this enormous cost in the first place.

Let’s not forget, privatization would also mean all of the currently federally employed Air Traffic Control Workers would be laid off, and airlines such as Delta would be “outsourcing”, thus taking away jobs and not getting them back (AOPA).

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CVU Speaks About Personal Computers

Mr. Cole Casale

In the 2017-18 school year at CVU, a new program was put into place so that all CVU students would have personal computers. For all classes other than the senior class this change had no effect because they received laptops when they were freshmen. But for the seniors, this means they would either use their own laptops that they previously owned, or they would be given a school-issued laptop from the previous laptop carts. This news was revealed in the previous school year by Charlie MacFadyen in an email he sent to the entire senior class regarding this change. 

The idea to bring 1:1 computers into CVU has been in the works for a long time and this year it has finally been fully instituted. “I think it is going to allow for students to do a lot more with technology,” says Charlie MacFadyen, a driving force behind this change. “The purpose of this change was to allow for more students to have access to technology, to both streamline classes, and also to allow all students to do their work, regardless of their limits outside of school,” he says.

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A Letter to Bernie: Net Neutrality Necessity

Mr. Willem Hillier, Guest Editorial Writer

Senator Bernie Sanders

357 Western Ave. Suite 1B

St. Johnsbury, VT 05819

Dear Mr. Sanders,

I am a senior at Champlain Valley Union High School, and I would like to both thank you for supporting net neutrality and urge you to continue doing all you can to fight against the FCC’s likely ruling this December.

To demonstrate the importance of Net Neutrality, I have a story — a story you may have heard about last year. I modified a Power Wheels car to be used as a wheelchair by a young child with Shaken Baby Syndrome. I used a guide that a different high school team had put up in Instructables.com as the basis for the project, and I improved several aspects of the design in the process, before posting my own version on Instructables.com so that other people in turn can build these mobility devices and learn from my improvements. Likewise, I used many other amazing online resources, like Thingiverse.com, a community-based 3D model repository, and Arduino, a non-profit electronics learning and prototyping platform.

Without Net Neutrality, resources like these likely would not exist. They rely on community-sourced content and support, which Net Neutrality upholds. If it weren’t for Net Neutrality, these amazing platforms likely would not have been able to rise and flourish the way they have. If it weren’t for Net Neutrality, the big ISPs could go so far as to directly censor or block access to these smaller community-based platforms, which they might see as a threat to their corporate mass-media platforms.

The Internet rose from open-source philosophies and transparency, and thus has allowed regular individuals to exchange information on an unprecedented scale. The use of the Internet as a communications platform can only grow in the future, and if we as a country, society, and species want to continue to be able to exchange information in an open and uncensored form then we must preserve the original essential principles that the Web was founded on. As a young person, I feel especially responsible for supporting Net Neutrality; whether it is upheld will likely have a large impact on our society in 15, 30, and 50 years from now – well within my generation’s lifetime.

Thank you for your continuing support in this battle. I urge you to do everything you can to continue supporting Net Neutrality.

Sincerely,

Willem Hillier

 

Opinion: Many Students Disgruntled by Tech

Mr. William Braun

As our society and school grow more dependent on computers and technology, it seems that CVU has come up with the “1:1 plan” to stay ahead of the curve. In reality, the idea was rushed and implemented before we were even ready.

As a result, seniors who decided to use their own devices have virtually no source for tech help and those who didn’t were given the “opportunity” to use the school’s old, beaten, and cheap computers while the rest of the student body strolls the halls with their nice and new Chromebooks.

Oh, and the CVU student Wi-Fi still stinks.

Matt Vile from IT says the purpose of the 1:1 plan was to “give each student a tool to do their work,” that students have “equal access to technology,” and that everyone would be “using the same technology.” While the goal of the 1:1 plan is sound in theory, the means of its execution are far from logical.

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No Kidding: Goats are on Grounds as Part of Natural Resource’s Permaculture Project

Ms. Sophie Boyer

HINESBURG– On Thursday June 1st, Champlain Valley Union High School’s Natural Resources class received goats as a part of their permaculture project. Permaculture projects are ones that will, according to Wikipedia, “develop agricultural ecosystems to be sustainable and self-sufficient.”

The goats will be cared for by students who signed up through a program called the Norman Fund which will also provide pay for those who participate. Six to seven students have been selected for that role. They will be responsible for providing care for the goats, garden, and also chickens which will be arriving at CVU on June 8th.

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Image by Sophie Boyer

The overall goal for these projects is that they will provide benefits for CVU. The goats play a very important role for the CVU community. They represent a natural way to get rid of invasive species such as poison parsnip… by eating it! Goats eat grass, herbs, tree leaves and other plant material. With this, they will help get rid of the unwanted plants.

The goats are expected to be around for about six months, potentially longer. The decision is based off when the students and Dave Trevithick, the Natural Resource teacher, intends on slaughtering the goats to provide food for CVU’s Cafe.

The garden of CVU is also a project of the Natural Resources class, and that as well will be providing food for the cafe, including vegetables and fruits like raspberries, and blueberries.

Want to Save the Planet? Then Eat Bugs

Mr. Damon Proulx

Should we eat insects? The gross crawling creepies that scare us and look nasty? I believe that this will be in our meals in the distant future. The protein and efficiency you get out of insects is crazy, and world hunger is a major problem we must combat as a species. The answer to our famine, is under our feet.

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Image from Newtopia Magazine

There’s a gigantic world hunger problem right now, with parts of Africa and Asia having the most countries in complete hunger chaos. If we were to increase hoofed animal production, or chicken and turkey production, it will fail. Scientists have already predicted that if we reached a population from 1.7 billion to 3 billion by 2025 or later, that the world would reach a max capacity for beef pork or chicken production. The world can’t withstand and handle that much C02 release and there isn’t enough room to hold that many production farms.

We need a better method for feeding the rapid growth of our population. Animals you see and hear of everyday in our food isn’t gonna work forever.  According to Sara Boboltz in an article on the website Huffpost “Here’s the number one reason to eat bugs: they’re good for you! They’ve got protein, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins and essential minerals. Nutrients differ, of course, by species, age and preparation method, but grasshoppers in particular are packed with about just as much protein as lean ground beef with less fat, and mealworms are typically a fair substitute for fish. Some caterpillars have more protein by weight than a turkey leg — and more fat, too, but it’s a healthier, monosaturated kind.” Insects are an amazing solution to the problems we face. They provide more protein than the animals we eat now, so people that are starving can gain the nutrients they need to keep going.

This also leads to helping obesity in the United States. You can eat less of bugs and still gain the same amount of nutrients as a couple hamburgers. This benefits for the reason that people will eat less to be more satisfied with the insect diet. This means healthier people and in the long run a much better healthier world.

By switching to insects we can provide more food to help stop hunger and to lower people’s weight over the course of time. It makes the United States hoard food less and distribute food more to the other countries in need. So we as a human race can survive and world hunger could be finally stopped.

Let’s talk about the efficiency of insects and costs. Look at the picture below.

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Infographic from The Bug Shack (UK)

The picture shown is so clear to the truth and what our world will come to if we continue. Cattle is the most farmed animal in the United States, and these are the comparisons. You get double the percentage of edible product from insects, a overwhelming decreased amount of water usage and barely any feed. The C02 and emissions (feces) is significantly reduced when insects are being farmed instead. Now we aren’t getting rid of milk we need the product, so we can’t completely get rid of cows and that’s not what is suggested. Milk and beef will still be around regardless, but just produced less. I wouldn’t consider it becoming a delicacy and only available to the rich, but it definitely will be reduced in production. We don’t have to get rid of cows completely but we need to replace a good 50% of these cow farms with insects at least.

This also ties in with the greenhouse gases, which we are producing way too much of. “In addition, insects actually like being confined to tiny spaces. Unlike chickens and cows and other animals who would prefer, we assume, being kept on “free-range” farms, bugs don’t mind being cooped up together in one massive cage. If farmed on the same scale, the U.N. report states insects would require “significantly less” water and land resources than traditional livestock.” (Huffpost, by Sara Boboltz) and the land we are using can be deducted and used for other things. Less land used for farming that causes a lot of C02, by replacing those with insect farms it frees up land for other uses. Cropland could also be reduced on a smaller scale provided that a certain species of insect can be a good supplement for a vegetable, but the vegetables and fruits can be left alone more. Also with the increased land we can have more beekeepers, increasing pollination. Pollination equals better quality fruits and vegetables, and honey products. So in reality insects have so many uses for our economy in saving money and efficiency. The United States would save millions of dollars by switching over to the insect way.

Insects are a great way to solve so many problems, and mother nature is a powerful force. We had the solution all along but we are being too stubborn and won’t give up what we are used to. Eventually we will feel the wrath that nature is gonna bestow upon us. Once we use up too much land and are farming too much inefficient animals, our species will ruin the Earth and we’ll die. Nature doesn’t like inefficiency and that’s what we are: inefficient. Nature will remove us and continue life without us because we won’t fit in with the efficiency problem and how we manage Earth. So my people, we must switch to insects and help out our species and the world as a whole. Switching to creepy crawling bugs will save us all, so should we? I think we will.

 

 

Climate Change is Worse Than We Think: Put Down the Hamburger and Grab Some Kale Chips

By Ms. Carly Alpert

cow

Courtesy of Wikimedia

The need to take action against climate change may be more necessary than we think. In fact, according to Environmental Researcher, Dr. Richard Oppenlander,  “Without using any gas, or oil, or fuel, ever again, from this day forward, we would still exceed our maximum carbon equivalent greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2030, without the energy sector even factored into the equation, all simply by raising livestock.” This is an extremely concerning statistic. It appears that even if you do everything right (recycle, drive eco-friendly cars, use renewable energy) you still cannot deter the accumulating greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, and thus prevent climate change.

Renowned theoretical physicist, Stephen Hawking, made the prediction that we would have to leave planet earth and colonize elsewhere in 1,000 years because it will no longer be sustainable for humans to live here. He just changed that prediction to 100 years. We are destroying our planet ten times faster than he had previously predicted. This should be a huge red flag that something on our planet isn’t right. There seem to be three options: one, humans can continue intensive agriculture and gorge ourselves on animal products, causing our entire species to die out in a matter of centuries; two, we can continue this current lifestyle for a short while, but it will be essential that we find another planet to colonize because we have nearly destroyed our own. This option is very unlikely as we are limited in space travel; three, humans need to start eating a fraction of the animal products they typically consume.

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VT Birds: On the Decline and Cause for Concern

Ms. Carly Alpert, Special CVC Environmental Correspondent

Birds are like stars. They brighten up the sky and bring joy to those who view them. But unlike stars, many Vermont birds are in danger. There are eleven bird species in Vermont that are endangered, and two bird species that are threatened. There seem to be three major reasons for these alarming facts.

One leading cause of birds becoming endangered is habitat loss. Loss of habitat occurs for a variety of reasons. Climate change is one factor, being responsible for the rising temperatures in which some bird species cannot survive. Curt Alpeter, Chairman of the Vermont Audubon Society, as well as avid birder, provides a specific example in the Bicknell’s thrush. Alpeter says, “This is a bird that depends on cooler temps, higher mountain elevation, and the habitat that is found there to breed and nest. Climate change is impacting this habitat and the temperatures at 3,000+ feet of altitude and forces the birds out of their historical breeding areas. Since this is such a select area, the number of places that can support these birds is less and as a result their populations are dropping.”

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Bicknell’s Thrush, photo from Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology “All About Birds”

Additionally, forest fragmentation destroys birds’ habitats. Urbanization in Vermont is causing large forests with diverse ecosystems to be divided into many smaller subsections. Smaller forests don’t have the resources that many species need to survive, forcing them towards extinction. It is essential that Vermonters preserve their birds’ habitats if they wish them to continue to flourish.

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Felt Soled Wader Ban Repealed In Vermont

Mr. Brenden Rockgod Provost 

In 2007, a Vermont fisherman found what he thought looked like a sewage leak at the bottom of the connecticut river in Vermont. Shortly after the fisherman notified Vermont Fish and Wildlife, the unknown object in the water was identified as Didymo, or “Rock Snot”. From that moment onward, rock snot was thought to be an invasive species. Restrictions on using felt soled waders were set in fear that they would aid the unwanted spread of rock snot.

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Image courtesy of Wideopenspaces.

On June 20th of 2016, Scientists discovered that rock snot is not in fact an invasive species. Almost immediately after this discovery, Vermont Fish and Wildlife repealed the restrictions on felt soled waders. A very controversial decision for most avid Vermont fly fishermen. Vermont fishermen always tend to be as environmentally friendly, especially when it comes to wildlife. “Rock snot may not be an invasive species, but there’s no point in giving up on the control of other invasive species” said Ozias Peltier, an avid and dedicated Vermont fisherman. 

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Chemical Re-Actions: AP Chem at the End of the Year

Mr. Thomas Daley

HINESBURG, VT — On Monday, AP Chemistry students from Champlain Valley Union High School took the national exam at St. Jude’s Church in Hinesburg; with the AP exam over, the class is looking to take on a new purpose for the students.

Up until this week, AP Chemistry students have been focusing on the AP Chemistry curriculum and preparations for the AP test. “We are a pretty intensive class and we start in the summer,” said course teacher Sarah Malcom.

For the rest of the school year, students will be working on project-based group tasks that apply their chemistry knowledge. Malcolm described it as “an opportunity to do something different.”

Why are large chemistry design tasks only assigned at the end of the year? “Time,” stated Malcolm. She noted that students are better able to complete their projects because of the knowledge base they have established.

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Students work on producing an edible meal

James White, a senior in AP Chemistry, expressed excitement for the new applications of his knowledge: “AP Chem gave me a new sense of bewilderment that arises when I stretch an eraser, or boil water, or crush salt. Having a more in-depth understanding of everyday objects makes the world around me more interesting, and makes me all the more curious to see how it works,” said White.

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AP Human Geography: Lacey Emphasizes Empathy

 

Mr. Thomas Daley

According to the World Health Organization, 1.8 billion people use a drinking-water water source contaminated with faeces. The United Nations Water for Life campaign reports that, on average, women in Africa and Asia walk 3.7 miles to collect water, sometimes in amounts less than three gallons. The United States Geological Survey states that the average American uses 80-100 gallons of water a day. In the U.S. humans have a very lavish relationship with water, something that is easy to unintentionally take for granted. One CVU teacher’s AP Human Geography class, however, has decided to put an end to the ignorance.

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During the week of March 13, 2017, Lacey Richards tasked her students with a challenge. The first option was to carry five gallons of water everywhere for a week—something both physically and emotionally stressful. The second was to, over the course of the week, boil all water for 10 minutes before using it; this was designed for students who were physically unable to carry out the first option, or for those who simply could not fit transporting five gallons of water into their schedule. “It definitely made me appreciate the fact that we can turn on the faucet and have running water around here,” explained Ben Stevens, a CVU junior, “Carrying 40 plus pounds of water everywhere I went was not that fun. I think that experience is what made me realize how tough walking to get water is and how fortunate we are to have access to running water.”

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The Shop is Open

Mr. Kyler Murray

The CVU “shop” is the classroom where students take Wood and Metal Fabrication classes. The metal shop and woodshop used to only be available to students enrolled in the woodshop and metal classes. A new approach gives opportunities for individual students to collaborate with other classes. The shop at CVU has recently been opened up to the use of all students starting in the 2016/2017 school year.  Jeff Tobroke, the “shop” teacher, says that open lab time is “a new idea that brings more students and classes into the Innovation Hub. We are tracking student use and have found that every block of open lab time has students utilizing the technology and resources available”.

This is somewhat of an open door policy; Tobroke shares that students with experience with the tools from previous classes are able to use any tools or machines. Students who are new to the lab are given instruction and safety lessons before they are allowed to use the tools and machines they would like to work with. The one requirement for all students is that they must provide a visual plan of what they would like to do. Tobroke refers to this as a “project proposal”. Students need to prepare drawings and/or sketches based on research so that they can discuss the project proposal and develop a timeline for completion.

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Musky Might Make a Comeback in Lake Champlain

Mr. Justin Olson, CVC Natural Resources Correspondent

With an area of 490 square miles and a depth of 400 feet in some spots, Lake Champlain is an immense ecosystem for numerous species from all walks of life. It is considered as a high class fishery, holding several tournaments throughout the year. After being ranked as one of the 7 best smallmouth bass fisheries in the country, WFN (World Fishing Network) describes the Lake Champlain as “perhaps the best lake in all of North America for both quality largemouth and smallmouth bass.” Fisherman however, are beginning to see an all but forgotten friend making their comeback in the lake.

pasted image 0 (4)Lake Champlain has always been home to the Esox genus of fish, or more commonly known as the pike family. The Northern Pike, Chain Pickerel, Redfin Pickerel and even some hybrids of the species call Lake Champlain home, just as the Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) once did. The Muskellunge, or Muskie, has been reported to pass 50 inches in length and 50 pounds in weight.

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UVM’s Rubenstein School of Natural Resources Offers Local Programs for the Environmentally Minded and Academically Motivated

Ms. Carly Alper, CVC Environmental Correspondent

Seniors going into UVM may want to consider joining the Rubenstein School of the Environment and Natural Resources. At a large university, with nearly 12 thousand students enrolled, it’s nice also to be a part of a smaller community. The Rubenstein School is one of twelve colleges and schools at UVM. As the world increasingly needs to depend on renewable energy and find greener ways to sustain our way of life, knowledge of the environment and natural resources will become more and more valuable. 

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Image from UVM

 

The Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources has a mission “to understand, nurture, and enrich the interdependence of people with healthy ecological systems.” The Rubenstein School has only been around for the past 14 years, but UVM has always had a strong environmental program, being ranked number ten for environmental consciousness out of all colleges in America. UVM began offering forestry courses in 1888, evolving into the School of Natural Resources in 1973, until 2003, when it was renamed the Rubenstein School. UVM alumni Steve and Beverly Rubenstein donated a generous gift so that the environmental program could expand to include even more members, allowing it to truly thrive.

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CVU Natural Resources: Baby Goats, Not Just about Cuteness

 

Ms. Jaime Vachon and Mr. James Keenan

HINESBURG– This Friday, CVU’s wood shop started to build a goat and chicken enclosure. In the following weeks, three weathered bucks will be arriving at CVU.

According to CVU student body president, Annie Bedell, “The idea really came from Dave [Trevithick]. A group of us knew livestock was an option for a project so we joined in!” CVU has rallied together to finish the project. Other students involved are Paige Niarchos, Shianne Jimmo, Sophia Bolivar-Adams, Jamie Monty, and Drew Major.

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Baby goat! Try not to go “aww” — we dare you.

Jake Evans and Hayley Hallack are leading the building process. At the moment, only the base of the enclosure is completed. The enclosure will be mobile and travel around the CVU grounds.

Tech education teacher, Jeff Tobrocke stated, “This is a big project right now. It has to be done in the next few weeks because we have the baby goats coming.”  

These goats won’t just be for show, they will be helping CVU with invasive species. It is an excellent alternative to other chemicals and harmful ways of destroying invasive species.

CVU will also be raising chickens from eggs. When it comes to taking care of the new members of the CVU community, the students have it covered. “There will be a job offer for the summer to take care of the chickens, goats, and the gardens,” says Bedell.

In the meantime, the CVU community excitedly awaits the arrival of the baby goats.

 

 

A Force in Motion: The CVU Science Curriculum Will Evolve Next Year

Mssrs. Isaac Cleveland and Earl Fletcher

HINESBURG, VT – The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), after being adopted by the Vermont Department of Education in June of 2013, are completely changing CVU’s science curriculum to allow their students to have more well-rounded skills in science.  The NGSS is completely altering how students learn and use their science skills.

According to Katherine Riley, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, students will be getting “two solid years of science curriculum where they will be practicing their skills for the upper level science classes.” NGSS educates students through skill-based learning targets, allowing them to be knowledgeable in the general science topics needed for life.

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Physics in action. Image by Isaac Cleveland

CVU started altering their curriculum in the Fall of the 2015/16 for the incoming freshman class. Integrated Environmental Science has replaced Freshman Core science and Integrated Biology has been introduced as a required class for this year’s Sophomores. One of the reasons for making the new Integrated Biology a required course was that, according to Katherine Riley, “Teachers couldn’t have the students long enough to really get an in-depth look at human bio.” With the new system for Freshman and Sophomores, students “can go into more depth” and they “get better general skills.”

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That Dirty Snow is Alive! And It Just Might Improve Your Quality of Life

Mr. Justin Chapman, CVC Advisor

If anything, New Englanders are known as a hearty bunch, not least for withstanding the yearly onslaught of winter with its barrage of ice, snow, sleet, and the occasional passing polar vortex. And no one complains about it — unless you’re “from away.” Yankees are fond of saying, “if you don’t like the weather, just wait ten minutes.” Yet this stoic veneer in the face of ever changing varieties of inclement weather belies the giddy promise of spring. As winter winds down in New England, ice and snow begin to loosen their grip on the landscape, and signs of vernal shifts begin to emerge, sometimes literally right out of the snow. By March steam pours from the vents of sugar-houses as syrup-makers begin boiling maple sap down into Vermont’s signature liquid. On those same late winter days, when the temps begin to push into the 50s and the streams begin to run full of snow-melt, a hiker or skier might happen upon a patch that looks at first like someone came along and emptied a ten pound bag of ground black pepper all over the snow. If you stop and take a closer look, however, you might see that that black pepper is a teeming microcosm of life.

What at first looks like dirty snow turns out to be a millimeter-long hexapod, the springtail, or as they’re colloquially known, “snow fleas” — and these snow fleas just might hold the key to some major scientific advances. Various springtails exist all over the planet, but they somehow manage to persist even in extreme winter climates like Antarctica and northern New England. These intrepid snow enthusiasts turn up by the thousands per square meter, up to 10,000 of them in fact, according to legendary naturalist David Attenborough. Even at high elevations, in late winter springtails emerge from the snow in huge numbers on warm afternoons in order to feed on decomposing leaves or moss. Snow fleas represent not only the inevitable arrival of spring in the northern woods, but further evidence of nature’s amazing ability to adapt and survive in harsh climates — plus they have a couple of potential benefits to humankind.

Snow fleas on Stark Mountain.  Photo by Justin Chapman

Snow fleas on Stark Mountain. Photo by Justin Chapman

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