Meteorological tower installed at North Fork Middle School

Jonathan Miles, a James Madison University professor and mechanical engineer, directs members of the Center for Wind Energy from JMU as they install a 70-foot meteorological tower at North Fork Middle School on Friday. Kaley Toy/Daily

QUICKSBURG – James Madison University’s Center for Wind Energy installed a meteorological tower at North Fork Middle School on Friday to a crowd of middle school students.

“It’s an awesome day for science,” said John Woods, sixth grade science teacher at the middle school.

A crowd of sixth and seventh grade students lined the sidewalk outside the middle school as the Center for Wind Energy installed the tower. This was a pass-the-torch event as seventh graders, who created the idea of the tower for the school last year, challenged the sixth graders to come up with their own way of saving on energy costs using alternative energy sources.

“Science is a social activity,” Woods said before the seventh graders challenged the sixth graders and spoke about what they would like to see happen at the school to save on energy costs, such as hybrid buses.

The Center for Wind Energy installed a 70-foot MET tower and the school became the host school for collecting meteorological data, which will be shared on a global network with interested parties.

Remy Pangle, director of education and outreach and state facilitator for the Wind for Schools program in Virginia, told the students, “this is a great challenge for you guys” and explained what the tower is and how it would be used.

“The tower will be here for the entire year so that we can get a really good feel for what your wind resource is before we help you to figure out what kind of turbine would make the most sense here. So this is a research facility right now,” Pangle said.

This event allows the class to move toward its net-zero science 6 classroom project, which will power an unused modular classroom by solar and wind energy.

“This net-zero classroom sounds pretty awesome,” Pangle told students.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com