Piedmont Middle School ‘Green Team’ Assists with Amazon Development Survey

Monday, November 22nd, 2021 - Posted in All District News District Communications

The Piedmont Middle School ‘Green Team’ recently applied its work of encouraging the community to work toward a more Green and sustainable way of living to a real-world project involving tracking deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon.

The class answered a call for volunteers from Piedmont resident and author, Tim Killeen, a conservation ecologist who has spent 25 years doing field research in the Bolivian Amazon. Killeen is currently publishing a study on the state of the Amazon, and the challenges of reconciling development with sustainability. His book ‘A Perfect Storm in the Amazon Wilderness – Success and failure in the fight to save an ecosystem of critical importance to the planet’ is collecting large amounts of data to assist policy makers, activists, and stakeholders in protecting the region.

The book is being released one chapter at a time and is continuously being updated with new data. Green Team students assisted in collecting information through the use of Google Earth images to track growing farm and industrial agriculture in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso. These sectors are in a phase of rapid growth, which comes at the expense of deforestation. In helping Killeen create a benchmark, students scanned satellite images of the Texas-sized area and marked areas where irrigation and chicken farming were expanding. 

“This was a great opportunity to present these students with something real, something where their work would have an impact,” said Piedmont Middle School Green Team Instructor, John White. “To see their efforts become part of a book was exciting for them and I hope serves as inspiration to continue the great work they have started in this class.” 

The project definitely made an impression on students, including one 8th-grader who has continued with the work on his own time. 

“I stuck with this project because out of all the work that we are doing on the Green Team, this project will have the largest and longest-lasting impact,” said Green Team member, Trenton D. “I learned that even though people are doing so much (for the environment), there are always others that do horrible things for profits. We need to stop putting everything into pledges and the good things, but also focus on removing the things that harm the environment.”

Killeen continues to need help collecting satellite data on the Amazon and there are other local initiatives being developed to to directly address deforestation. If you are interested in helping with the research or getting involved, please email Alex Freemon at yesmon@gmail.com

Learn more about the Piedmont Middle School Green Team.

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