News

Weather station gets Web-savvy

CARNATION — Imagine spending a warm, sunny winter break

in Florida while monitoring the freezing conditions on Stillwater Hill at

the same time.

Web surfers can now access up-to-date information such as

wind speed, temperature, and - what every Northwesterner needs to know -

how many inches of rain have fallen, on Stillwater Elementary's Web site.

The project stemmed from the innovative mind of third-grade

teacher Bill Dumond, who saw not only a practical need for the weather

system, but an educational one as well.

Dumond organized the Riverview School District's first and only

amateur radio club at Stillwater several years ago. But, as students

corresponded with people from all over the world, the same question would

always come up: "What is the weather there?"

"All we could do was look out the window and say, `Well, it's foggy

today,'" Dumond said.

Last September Dumond started to brainstorm ways to integrate an

accurate weather system into the school. Once he found the perfect way, he

was faced with the challenge of funding the $1,000 weather station. With

the financial help of the radio club, PTSA and individual donors, however,

the weather site was completed and officially unveiled last month.

"It's a great focal point for the school and the [Web site] will be

a great tool for the community," said Stillwater Principal Chris Everett.

The station works by capturing data from an instrument on

the school's roof that transmits the information to a processor in the

building, which in turn feeds the data to a computer. The information is

automatically updated every five minutes, so it's best to hit the refresh button

when visiting the Web site, Dumond said.

"This is for people who like weather and want precise

information," he said. "This is a Web site

they should know about because it's probably the best weather Web

site around."

Dumond also created a "weather picture" above the school's

library, which shows a tangible version of the Internet display.

Establishing the Web site is only the first step of Dumond's plan to

integrate the new technology with classroom learning. He hopes to create

a science curriculum based on the weather station that will help

students learn to chart, graph and gather information. Also, when funds

become available, Dumond would like to install a Web-cam at the school so

that people can see for themselves if Stillwater is getting sun peeks

or peeps.

And, the computer program has so many more capabilities that there's

no telling how big this project can get under the direction of Dumond.

"Mr. Dumond is such a creative person and he loves to bring

new learning experiences to his students," Everett said. "And he gives so

much of his own time to fulfill that dream. He's an extraordinary teacher."

Stillwater Elementary's weather station can be found

at www.sw.riverview.wednet.edu.

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