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TREX – Day 4

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TREX – Day 4
By Rayna Higuchi ’20
Today was an exciting disappointment. We were originally supposed to head over to Leilani to see newly formed lava fields, but never got a call back on whether today was okay for us to enter or not. Instead, we split into five groups to complete various missions for the group.
The first two groups worked with the drone, one worked to troubleshoot a few of the issues that have come up so far, and the other practiced flying and compared the results of different flight paths. A different group worked with the sensors and took down the set of fourteen that we had placed over the last few days. Now that these sensors have been calibrated, we can start to put them up in their final locations. A fourth group used a chemistry kit to analyze water samples and particulate matter filters.
My group put up two sensors in their final locations. The first was at a high school, which was unlike any other high school I have ever been to. They had an aquaponics system to grow tilapia for consumption, a small farm, some goats, and many beautiful paintings. It was small and open and outdoorsy. The school clearly emphasized sustainability and a connection to the land, which I thought was very cool.
Jordan Alford, Chemical Engineering, ’20 checks and fixes an old sensor.
Aquaculture growing tilapia, with several plants to filter out/be fertilized by the fish waste. Aquaculture (farm fish growing) + hydroponics (the practice of growing plants in water) = aquaponics. The plants are then used to fertilize nearby land plants.   
Once we had placed that sensor, we went in to talk to a chemistry class. Our visit was brief, but we were able to show them how our sensors worked. From there, we went over to the second school, where we placed the other sensor on a roof. Unlike at the last school, we didn’t go in to talk to the students. There was one thrilling moment where a handful of children waved at us. We waved.
We met up with the other groups at a beach not long after. We were there to test the drone sensors, though it was also an excuse to get back to the water. Sierra Rosenzweig (’20) successfully flew the drone out over the water and back; this is great news since otherwise we would no longer have a drone.  All in all, it was an excellent day!
Panorama view of the beach. This ground was made in the ‘80s or so.