BY HOWARD BALABAN
Medina Journal-Register — LYNDONVILLE — The students throughout Lyndonville’s kindergarten through sixth grades saw first-hand Thursday just how weather is created and the effects it can have.
Thanks to winning WGRZ’s frequent weather word contest, the district managed to have the station’s meteorologist, Andy Parker, bring his one-of-a-kind Weather Machine to the school’s auditorium. Parker said Thursday marked his first trip to the village.
“I’ve been to a lot of the surrounding communities,” he said, naming Lyndonville neighbors like Medina and Oakfield. “When I came here and walked it, I was amazed. This is a great space. I love it.”
Parker’s presentation relied on audience participation for several hands-on weather experiments. The students cheered and laughed as some of their classmates got a chance to do such things as inflate a weather balloon, hide in a cloud, and act as a conductor for electricity, among a handful of other activities.
Parker said he began going to schools in Western New York in 2000. Early on, he would speak to one or two classes at a time. Eventually, word spread and he started presenting the wonder of weather to a few classes at a time.
Visiting the schools, Parker said, is a way to “bring a field trip to the students” at a time when many school districts across the area and the country are being forced to severely limit or eliminate their field trip budgets altogether.
With almost 13 full school years of presenting completed, Parker said he was looking forward to the day when a fellow meteorologist approaches him out of the blue to say “thank you.”
He explained, “I haven’t met anyone yet, but part of the presentation deals with green technology (solar panels). By now I may have managed to spark some interest in someone who pursued a career in that field.”
Lyndonville is among many smaller districts across Western New York that landed Parker’s presentation this year. He said there are two Weather Machine winners every month. One of them is the district with the most votes, which is normally a more densely populated district. The other is picked from the runners-up and rewards any extra effort put forth.