Nicodemus Wilderness Project
Nicodemus Wilderness Project
About Us Projects Education Links Volunteers Membership  
Nicodemus Wilderness Project


NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Cleanwater Education Research Facility, Syracuse, New York, USA

« ++ ·
· ++ »

Cleanwater Education Research Facility, Syracuse, New York, USA
(Click on photo to view larger image)


Registered: December 2017
Posts: 1
View this Member's Photo Gallery
Energy is what allows the modern life humans have developed to continue. Without certain sources of energy, humans would be unable to drive cars, operate machines, regulate temperatures, or cook on stoves. This energy comes in two different classifications, renewable and nonrenewable. The obvious issue with nonrenewable resources, like coal, crude oil, and natural gas, is that they only come in finite supplies; eventually, our planet will run out of them. The main energy sources used by humans are petroleum, natural gas, and coal (Energy Sources, 2017). These nonrenewable resources are not infinite, meaning that unless humans plan on ending their use of technology that involves these energy sources, a renewable source of energy must be used in replace.

My name is Jenna Cerlanek and I am a senior at East Syracuse Minoa Central High School which is located in Syracuse, New York. I am currently taking a college level course (SUNY ESF) of environmental science. The project I will describe has formed in part as a project for my environmental class; however, my concern and investment in the future for problems just like the one I described above has led me to use this opportunity to develop an Apprentice Ecologist project. In response to the inevitable energy crisis, I have been studying a partial solution that could be found in using leaves as a heating source.

The project I have been developing through my environmental science class uses a pile of leaves to heat a greenhouse structure. As the leaves go through the decomposition process, chemical bonds are broken in and heat is absorbed in an endothermic process. This allows the leaf pile to reach an average temperature of 52 degrees Celsius, or 123 degrees Fahrenheit. This heat being absorbed into the leaf pile then transfers to three separate water tanks which circulate water through tubes into the greenhouse and back to the tanks. When this water circulates throughout the greenhouse, it releases heat which is then trapped in the greenhouse. The greenhouse has a volume of approximately 35,750 square feet that is continuously heated.

The unique feature this greenhouse has though is a small greenhouse within the larger greenhouse; like nesting dolls. Though in the early stages of the project, plant growth has already begun in the greenhouse which proves that a leaf pile is capable of heating a greenhouse enough for plant growth even in the frigid winters that Syracuse receives.

While this project is still being developed and hypothesis are being tested, at the moment it appears that using leaves as a heat source is successful. As this project grows and refines, the potential it has as a renewable and inexpensive heating source could decrease the use of nonrenewable fuels that are not only growing scarce, but also contributing to an increasing amount of air pollution that as numerous negative ramifications on the environment. The Apprentice Ecologist Project has inspired me to not only help my community, but the environment as a whole by researching this clean and renewable heating source that has unforeseeable positive impacts.


Energy Sources. (2017, August 24). Retrieved December 30, 2017, from
Date: December 31, 2017 Views: 4830 File size: 16.1kb, 4746.7kb : 3024 x 4032
Hours Volunteered: 25
Volunteers: 4
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 17 & 16 to 18
Print View
Show EXIF Info