- Associated Press - Saturday, October 10, 2015

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) - When Christopher Audretsch, a senior from Bloomington High School South, saw a light bulb powered by a bicycle and map of solar-powered homes in the region, he wanted to know more about green technology.

“It seems to be that solar energy is more economically viable than I thought it was,” Audretsch said. “I’m going to do more research.”

From solar panels to permaculture design, Monroe County Community Schools students were introduced to green concepts along with local environmental organizations and careers at the first ever Academy of Science and Entrepreneurship Environmental Fair.

Audretsch’s response to the information provided by SIREN, the Southern Indiana Renewable Energy Network, was an indication that the fair had accomplished its goal.

“I hope they say, ‘Well, I didn’t know that was a problem,’ or ‘I didn’t know people were doing that; I would like to get involved in that,’” said Ann Burke, environmental science teacher at the Academy.

Burke organized the event, which involved 14 organizations, including representatives from Indiana University, Purdue University, the City of Bloomington and Monroe County. Around 200 students involved in environmental science, biology and environmental clubs attended from every Monroe County Community School Corp. high school.

“Hopefully, (students) will know that when we talk about environmental issues, they’re real, and there are people who care and are working on them in the community,” Burke said.

Rhonda Baird, board president of the Center for Sustainable Living, told the high schoolers she made her living teaching others about permaculture design, and she shared information about internship opportunities.

“For students with a passion, it’s a great vocational and educational pathway,” Baird said as she stood behind a table covered in pamphlets and brochures.

The Academy’s first environmental fair was held outside the school with booths and tables set up along Patterson Drive and curving around the school building. Burke hopes it will take up more space next year.

“Hopefully, it will become an annual thing and get bigger,” she said.

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Source: The (Bloomington) Herald-Times, https://bit.ly/1VEBLGY

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Information from: The Herald Times, https://www.heraldtimesonline.com

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