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AP Environmental students create ecocolumn, monitor nitrogen cycle
Pamela Seals

Students in AP Environmental Science class this semester are creating a living model of an ecosystem – an Ecocolumn.

Consisting of three chambers to the system, the first mimics the terrestrial world with land and plants. The students recently planted seeds to begin the growth of the land. The middle chamber is made of sand and rocks and will filter water that goes down through the terrestrial chamber. The final chamber is the aquatic chamber, which will eventually contain an aquatic ecosystem with rocks, algae and fish.

“The students will spend two months creating these systems and monitoring soil and water characteristics to watch things go through the nitrogen cycle in real time,” said Pamela Seals, teacher and Science Department chair. “It is one of the most comprehensive models we use all year to tie together many concepts of the class in one realistic simulation. The students really enjoy watching things grow, and they become very invested in the life of their fish.”