Stevenson continues its pivot towards hands-on place-based science learning. Recently, Upper Division science teacher Kevin D’Angelo was awarded a grant by the Arribada Initiative, an organization that “co-develops open, customizable and impact-driven conservation technologies.” With the grant, which is awarded to recipients aiming to build specific, unique open-source tags that can be built by other Argos users, Mr. D’Angelo was given:

  • 1 Arribada developer’s kit
  • 1 year of free Argos service for the kit
  • 5 Argos chips (for prototype testing, after certification)

This specific grant is being used by Grade 11 students Peter Akcan and Nicholas Udwadia. They are working to create a new tagging device that will help whales escape entanglement in fishing nets and other human debris in the ocean. Currently, this work involves using a cumbersome buoy and tag system. Peter and Nicholas are focused on building a new and improved buoy, as well as a tag that communicates with the Argos satellite system to help locate and track whales.

Peter and Nicholas explain in their project report that their objective is to create a new device that is “cost-effective and lightweight (<$1000).” They add, “Our goal is to replace titanium with an inexpensive and equally strong material to withstand hydrostatic pressure. Once the buoy is working and has been constructed, it will be used in Monterey Bay to help the Marine Life Studies Whale Entanglement group.”

Mr. D’Angelo adds that, “To build the buoy, Peter and Nicholas are using a CNC milling machine that was specially purchased for the school by a donor. It’s the first time we’ve been able to use the machine in a couple of years.”

Peter and Nicholas have finished the buoy portion of the project and are moving on to develop the software to be used in tandem. They recently submitted their project as an entry to the Monterey Science Fair, and Mr. D’Angelo is working with them as their adult sponsor.

Thanks to the resources at the School and grants like the one awarded by Arribada, Stevenson students are able—now more than ever—to take advantage of specific advantages afforded by Stevenson’s location. They can immerse themselves in the rich natural environment surrounding the School and study science beyond the classroom.