STEM-In-Action Fall Follow Up: Algaegators

Hello again! It's time to check in on our STEM-In-Action Grant winning teams! Over the next few months we will see posts from each of our winning teams to find out what they are up to this fall. In case you're just now tuning in, the U.S. Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP) STEM-In-Action Grant awards eCYBERMISSION teams up to $5,000 to develop their projects into mature and scalable solutions in their community. Typically we award this honorary grant to five teams, but this year ten teams took home the prestigious award. The first team we're catching up with is the Algaegators!


Our names are Rafa and Tenzin. We are 8th graders from Camas, Washington. We both swim competitively with the LaCamas Warriors. We got involved in eCYBERMISSION when Rafa asked me if I wanted to join him in a project for eCYBERMISSION. eCYBERMISSION sounded like a fun way to do something STEM related. Going to Nationals was really fun and a good learning experience. Getting the $5,000 grant is helping us make a better, more functional prototype.
Our goal is to get algae off of the three lakes in the Lacamas Lake area. In recent years the lakes have been closed due to cyanobacteria. These lakes have been meeting spaces and great recreation locations for many years. However, due to the neurotoxic nature of the algae, the lakes have frequently been closed for several weeks every summer. We love these lakes and would love to make a difference in our community.

Our plan is to create a mobile filtration system to LIMIT the spread of algae to a level that is safe for humans and animals. We have learned the types of algae in our lake and the size of it and where it is located and how it affects the ecosystem. We also learned how to build a platform capable of carrying our proposed filtration system. We learned what is being done by members of the scientific community to monitor the problem.

We plan to create a permanent, mobile system that will limit the algae to a manageable level so that people can swim without worrying and help keep the lake clean. This solution will have a propulsion system, a filter, a floating platform and subframe, as well as a control system. Our filter will be using an 80 micron filter that NOAA uses to train citizen scientists. The grant will allow us to buy better filters, a more advanced control system, and more powerful waterproof motors for our solution.


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