The goal of the Cambridge Biopreserve/Bioenergy Project is to create a learning preserve and bioenergy plantation to support long-term outdoor experiential educational activities and a source of renewable, agriculturally produced energy for Cambridge Central School in Cambridge, NY.
The Cambridge Biopreserve is the name of the outdoor teaching space that is being developed on 6.9 acres of land owned by Cambridge Central School. The purpose of the biopreserve project is to restore the natural areas on land near the school to be used for the enrichment, education, and recreation for both students and the community. This student driven project will include the establishment of a biomass energy plantation, arboretum, wetland boardwalk, walking tails, and wildlife habitat. The bioenergy portion of the project involves the growth of shrub willow, which will be sustainably harvested in the form of woodchips to supply a 6 Kilowatt biomass gasification system that will produce heat and power for the school.
Steve Butz is leading the initiative and was awarded a grant from NY State Senators Kathy Marchione and Betty Little to start the project. He has also consulted with District’s Energy and Sustainability Committee, who advises the Board of Education, along with the Washington County Soil and Water Conservation District who helped put together a comprehensive site plan for the property. Initial site surveying of the land was performed by Mr. Butz’s environmental science students. This was followed by the layout of the walking trail, along with the planting of 225 shrub willow by his students in the spring of 2016, and another 1,700 willows on a tenth acre test plot in 2017. The opening of the walking trail occurred in the spring of 2017.