By danny restivo
A sunny Monday without a cloud in the sky was the backdrop for the opening of a new outdoor laboratory.
The Hubbard Ecology club cut the ribbon to its new 5-acre land lab on the same day millions of people around the world celebrated Earth Day.
“There’s really so much that we can use this for,” said Irene Pizanias, a high school chemistry and physics teacher who has been an ecology club adviser for 12 years.
“This allows kids to have a hands-on experience to learn about the environment,” said Pizanias.
The laboratory is in the woods behind the district’s new campus, which opened in the fall.
The land lab includes a stream, a walking path and plenty of trees with makeshift bird feeders hanging. Pizanias said the third- and fourth-graders helped create the 250 bird feeders that are scattered throughout the woods.
The laboratory also has a 53-foot flatbed trailer from a tow truck that serves as a bridge over the stream and into the environmentally friendly area.
Pizanias said a $5,000 grant from the Ohio Environ- mental Protection Agency’s educational fund made the laboratory possible.
She said the lab will help students learn about soil, water treatment and botany.
“This is going to be a great extension of our classroom,” said Pizanias.
About 100 students planted wild flowers throughout the area after the ribbon was cut Wednesday afternoon. Brian Loveless, a senior who plans to study actuarial science next year at Youngstown State University, said he’s excited because future students will get to enjoy the laboratory for years to come.
“This will be here for students to learn from for quite a few years,” said Loveless, who walked around the area and collected litter before the ceremony began.
“It will be a good addition to our school,” he said.
Residents can visit the land lab Wednesday from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Pizanias said people will be able to walk through the lab, which will have various stations like soil testing, water testing, as well as a scavenger hunt.