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April 29th, 2010
This year's environmental issue was the protection of groundwater through environmental planning. Students were given a scenario: a new nanotechnology facility was being built in their town. They took on the roles of environmental activists or town officials, and explained how they would deal with potential water pollution that might come from the facility.
The participants had to put together a video presentation before Wednesday's competition. Students addressed both sides of the issue: how animals could be negatively affected by the construction, and the importance of the new facility to bring jobs to the area.
"I think one of the biggest things the students learned was they couldn't disregard anyone's interests in talking about the issues: the business owners or the farmers," Indian River agriculture teacher Nichole M. Hirt said. "Their decisions aren't going to make everyone happy, and realizing that meant they had to step outside their comfort zone."
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