Students turn oil spill into unique science lesson - - The News for South Mississippi

Students turn oil spill into unique science lesson


By Trang Pham-Bui – bio | email

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) – "Many of you are going to be affected by this oil spill, because it doesn't look like it's going to go away any time soon," said Dr. Jessie Kastler, a Research Associate at the Gulf Coast Research Lab.

Dr. Kastler spent Monday morning, explaining the BP oil spill to 380 students at St. Stanislaus College in Bay St. Louis.  She wanted all of them to care about what's happening right in their own back yard.

"They need to be able to answer questions. They're going to need to remember some of the things from this time, because the oil spill results will still be with us," said Kastler.

"We're located on the beach.  We have an expanding Marine Science program.  We have guys who fish out there every morning.  It really impacts us a great deal and we wanted to make it a big deal for our students, to know that this is not something that's happening far away.  This is something that does affect our lives here at SSC," said SSC Principal Brother Ronald Hingle.

Kastler looked back at the fatal explosion that started it all, and the danger the leak poses to 3,500 miles of shoreline and to vulnerable marine life.  She also explained attempts to cap the spill and why there's hope.

"They're already vacuuming up, or pumping up some of the oil," Kastler said as she explained a weekend effort to contain the gushing oil.

Many students shared their own concerns over the spill and how the disaster has already changed their views of life.

"My uncle is an oyster fisherman out of southern Louisiana, and he's going to be working for BP also for the cleanup and putting out buoys and stuff.  Hopefully, I can get in and do some of that with him," said SSC Junior Jonathan Soto.

"I think the oil spill could severely impact the animals on the coast and destroy our beach and the lives of the fishermen," said SSC 7th grader Blake Raziano.

"It's just our way of life down here and if that was ruined by oil getting into the marshes, killing all the fish and stuff, I don't know, life would be different," said SSC 7th Grader Jonathon Artigues.

Next year, the St. Stanislaus family will learn more about the oil spill by taking part in the "Big Read" project. All the students, faculty and staff will read a book together, and the book under consideration is "The Spill: The Story of the Exxon Valdez."

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