Hoover High School Bio-Bucs: Testing the Air

by Christian Lam, Maggie Khan and Andrew Gelderman

First of all, what is the BioBucs? 

The Hoover High School BioBucs is the Hoover High School environmental science research competition team. The club was created with an ultimate goal of being recognized as a Green Flag School by the National Wildlife Federation, but has taken on many more projects around our school campus and community. Within two years, we’ve established a pollinator/sensory garden for Special Ed, built a solar-powered phone charging station, conducted a Hoover High light audit, and participated in three Lexus Eco Challenges so far.

We were inspired to monitor the air by Gasp’s documentary Toxic City: Birmingham’s Dirty Secret since Birmingham is so close to home.

Our Most Recent Project

We won the 2018-19 Southeastern Regional Lexus Eco Challenge! A large part was thanks to our collaboration with Gasp. In Spring 2017, we worked with Gasp volunteer Jonathan Self and intern, Vaishali N and built the AirBeam sensors that works in conjunction with the AirCasting App. Through this combo, we were able to record the particulate matter in the air in three different locations: Hoover High, Southern Research STEM Lab, and Sloss Furnace. The PM 2.5 of Sloss Furnace peaked at 347 even in the rain, while Hoover High peaked at 9 on a clear day. When it’s raining, accumulated air pollution sticks to the rain and travels into the ground. Who knows what the Sloss’s PM count would’ve been on a clear day.

Below is a gallery of pictures from our air quality testing adventures and more: 

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