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2 - November 25, 2011 | Hudson - Litchfield News

CHS Students: ‘Literally Being Scientists While Being Students’

Alvirne Cow Kissing Tradition Continues

nitrate and temperature of the air so that we can compete.”

Cm Branco, John Ceahek and Dan Gottsche examine the specimen from the pond water they just captured

by Doug Robinson Since 2006, students of Chester Orban’s

Advanced Placement Environmental Science class at Campbell High School have been collecting aquatic data at Darrah Pond Litchfield. The purpose of their studies is to bring a “hands on approach” and “real life experiences” for the students.

Upon first observation, Darrah Pond looks

like any other pond. With sandy beaches, lots of privacy, surrounded by trees and a town recreational area, one would think that Darrah Pond would be representative of a well run, well supported town beach.

Upon closer examination, Darrah Pond has been a pond which not only the Town of Litchfield has neglected, but the State of NH has ignored as well. Once a pristine, clean, and full of life, it is now a dying pond. Fish species are depleting, pond pollution has increased, and public and private sentiment has ignored this body of water. A pond within which families swam and fishermen fished, it has become a pond of neglect and concern. Darrah Pond is a pond located an only short distance from Campbell High School, in Litchfield’s south end. “The pond is ancient and has been there since the ice age” said Orban. “It is situated next to Kettle Pond and the pond is unique as it does not have an inlet and it is fed by springs. It does not have any official outlets. Darrah Pond does connect with Half Moon Pond.” CHS students have learned that various species of life have been diminishing in Darrah Pond. Once covered with the hazardous vegetation known as Milfoil, Mayflies, snails, clams, and crayfish have all but disappeared. Brown Trout

Students of CHS are doing the State’s work for them, at no charge. They have been tracking the chemical analysis have involved the tracking of acid rain, chlorophyll content, animal life, biological life, aquatic life, as well as the quality of the water. Their research shows that the ponds have decayed. Life in the pond has died. The dedication to the data collection process has caught the

attention of State Officials of the NH Volunteer Lake Assessment Program (VLAP). Operated by the NH Department of Environmental Services, VLAP official Sara Steiner writes, “It sounds like a fantastic class” and “I envision that a VLAP biologist would joining you during one of your sampling events in the future to ensure adherence to our quality control procedures and field sampling. I would love to have your data transferred to our

database.” CHS

students Adam Mullen and Zach Waggoner are actively researching and working to build a robot which will travel the bottom of the lake in an effort to provide the much needed

by Tom Tollefson Alvirne’s Spirit Week tradition of cow kissing

may have been postponed due to rain, but the school spirit was still there for social studies teacher Seth Garon to kiss the cow last Thursday outside the school.

“I heard they made a cute couple,” junior

Jordan McAdams joked. The faculty also enjoyed the cow kissing and

was happy to see the student support. “They (the students) dedicated the yearbook to him (Garon) last year so its good to see Seth get more positive accolades from the kids,” Alvirne Social Studies teacher Scott Szuksta said about his co-worker.

Garon recalled that his first reaction when finding out he had been elected to the annual honor of cow kissing was “are you kidding me?” but was happy to help the students raise money

for a charitable cause. Every year, the Student Council (the event’s sponsor) selects a staff member for each of the four classes to vote. Jars are put out during lunch for voting. Students vote for their class staff member with pennies and dollars, while taking away votes for the other class’ staff members with dimes and nickels. The person with the largest amount of votes (after deducting the negative ones) in their jar is elected to kiss the cow. The other three candidates for this event were school Resource Officer John Mirabella, Social Studies teacher Scott Szuksta, and Music Director Gerry Bastien. The money raised by this election goes to assist local needy families with clothes, presents, and food for the holidays. “It’s always raised a lot of money for food banks

and various things,” Alvirne English teacher James MacEachern said. According to MacEachern, the history of this event goes back to the 1980s when the Alvirne Key Club sponsored the cow kissing. After a brief break, the cow kissing continued with the Student Council sponsoring the event. MacEachern

formerly took part in the event himself. “It was fun. I’m glad the kids got a kick out of it, “he said about the experience.

Courtesy photo

Alvirne Social Studies teacher Seth Garon kissing a cow in the 2011 Alvirne High School Cow Kissing event

Garrett Sahlin analyses the oxygen level to his sample of water from Darrah Pond.

Students of CHS’s Environmental Club

has also come near non-existent in the pond. CHS student Max Gouveiz comments that the

“Trouble with the pond has to do with the pH balance. It used to be a good place to swim. Unfortunately, the pond is now full of Styrofoam worm containers and fish hooks. Cleaning it up has been an ongoing effort. We are now trying to work with the state. In the past, they have not kept any statistics on the pond, but now, we are about to do that. We are testing for pH, ammonia,

data for the researchers above. Both Adam and Zach belong to the Robotics Club and they are designing to build an underwater Robot which will be positioned to examine the environmental ecology of the bottom of the pond design phase … Students of Orban’s call enjoy the “hands-on” and the learning from all the biological aspects to the Pond assessments. Students agree that what they see really affects the environment.

Their analyses teach diversity, productivity, and the cause and affects of both biological natures and human natures with our environment. “This is literally being a scientist while being a student” commented Orban. “These students have to be critical thinkers as they apply the classroom instructions with everyday life.”

Hudson’s Head Librarian Announces Retirement

by Lynne Ober Hudson Library Trustees began their last meeting with an unexpected and unwanted surprise. They had just received a letter from Library Director Toni Weller that announced her retirement on January 16, 2012. It’s been a wonderful journey,” said Toni Weller,

Library Director of the George H. and Ella M. Rodgers Memorial Library in Hudson. The journey lasted 12 years, but Weller said it was time to retire. “Thank you so much for twelve wonderful years at the library.

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come true to work every day surrounded by books and the best staff.” Weller acknowledged that she was going to miss working in such a beautiful facility and would also miss the people she’s come to call friends. “Well, my goodness,” said a stunned Chairman. Connie Owens said that she had no correspondence until right before the meeting when she got the letter announcing Weller’s retirement. Owens echoed the thoughts of the other trustees when she said that no one wanted to see Weller leave, but thanked her for giving the trustees time to make a transition. “I want to help with the transition to make it as easy as possible,” said Weller who noted that the library was dear to her. Weller is originally from North Carolina, but said that she and her husband would be staying in the area after her retirement. “My husband is from New England and he loves to ski.” However, Weller plans to visit friends in North Carolina – perhaps during the worst of winter while her husband skis. Library Trustee Arleen Creeden finally pointed out that the board must vote to accept Weller’s retirement letter. “Do we have to,” quipped Trustee Linda Kipnes. With great reluctance the board voted to accept her retirement.

“I’m devastated by your leaving,” said Kipnes. “I wish you all the best. Thank you for all you have done for the library.” Weller participated in several building committees throughout her tenure. She began when the library was in the Hills Library building and worked with trustees and community members who struggled to build a new library. She watched as the library warrant articles failed – often by a small margin. Finally after the generous donation of $4 million by the Rodgers family, Weller participated for one last time with a building committee. The groundbreaking ceremony for the new George H. and Ella M. Rodgers Memorial Library took

Library Director Toni Weller

place on June 8, 2008 and the new library opened in June 2009 with a party attended by the community. Creeden acknowledged how instrumental

Weller had been during the building process. “Thank you for twelve wonderful years of fabulous work and for helping so much when we built the library,” she told Weller. Throughout her tenure

programming at the library has developed and expanded. Programs were offered for kids as well as seniors and every age in between. Computer classes have been taught. Craft classes have expanded since the new library opened. The community has responded enthusiastically to those offerings. “It has been twelve wonderful

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years of closeness. I’ve made many friends among the trustees and patrons, but It’s Time to Move My Cheese,” said Weller. And, of course, with a library discussion what could be a more fitting closing statement than the use of a book title?

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