Barb Busack is an Olean native whose parents nurtured an appreciation for nature. Whether it be traversing through the jungles in Costa Rica, hiking the west coast of Greenland, or walking in Spain, Barb enjoys nature and learning about different habitats. With digital camera in hand, she captures a variety of images from her adventures and readily shares with others. It is no surprise that Barb’s experiences and energy for life have allowed her to successfully grow CA BOCES’ Environmental Science program, CoSer 416.
Barb meets with approximately 5000 students each year, engaging them hands-on activities that complement classroom curriculum such as studying habitats (see photo), or creating a molecular model of a snowflake (see photo).
Barb is state certified in geology, biology, and elementary education. Every summer, she takes 7th graders from Cuba-Rushford to a three-day camp where they take guided nature walks, learn about snake hunts, identify edible plants, and observe insects and amphibians in the Allegany State Park. She especially likes providing instruction on animals and plants in the region, and the Three Great Cycles (water, soil and air) that sustain our life.
In this photo, Barb is speaking to students about ladybugs. Ladybugs are highly beneficial to gardens since they eat aphids and are an important part of our ecosystem.
Although most of Barb’s interactions are with elementary students, Science on the Seneca is a research program sponsored by Hobart-William Smith College that provides high school students an opportunity to be on a research boat and participate in a plankton drag. Students view plankton under a microscope, conduct a chemical analysis of water, and dredge up soil to analyze its contents (see photo). The results are then added to the college’s findings to assist in ongoing research.
Barb’s creativity and enthusiasm for nature is a true passion and contagious! If you would like to know more about the Environmental Science Program, please contact Amy_Windus@caboces.org at Learning Resources.
By: Cece Fuoco, School Library Coordinator for CA BOCES
Through participation in Environmental Science programs with traveling teacher Barb Busack, Cuba-Rushford fourth grade students learned spiders are fascinating animals. On this day, they studied the parts of a spider, as well as how it hunts and digests its prey; soup anyone? They also studied the spiders’ amazing ability to make silk stronger than steel and style it into a variety of webs. Most importantly, they learned spiders are beneficial to our ecosystem, as they help control the insect population.
A competition was held to see which students could use their newly gained knowledge of spiders and their amazing lives to answer assessment questions and unscramble facts about spiders’ benefits to man. The first student who figured out the scrambled sentence won a spider web keychain.
The lesson concluded with the students making a pipe cleaner spider that can be hung outside. Hopefully a real spider will come along and use the framework to make a web, thus reducing the amount of unwanted insects in our yards and proving that spiders are beneficial!
By Barb Busack, CA BOCES