Roanoke, VA - A student at Virginia Tech has employed the help of more than a dozen Roanoke City Schools in an effort to better understand the weather in the Star City.
It's a part of a doctoral dissertation study - that is trying to determine the best places in the city to launch urban gardens.
Tammy Parece has refined her current research focus to understanding the environmental and social aspects of the Star City in order to best locate community gardens popping up all over Roanoke.
"In order to do that we needed to identify areas that would be good to place the weather station someplace where we could safely place it where it wouldn't disappear or be vandalized," said Parece.
The problem is, where you are in Roanoke... will dictate what type of weather you face on any given day.
To understand that better Parece needed a bunch of helpers.
"When we started thinking about needing to have a finer collection of data for Roanoke, it came hand and hand, putting it in the schools so somebody else could use it," said Parece.
Beginning this past summer, 12 weather stations were added to the rooftops of 12 different Roanoke schools.
The data they produce is collected in Blacksburg to use there but it is also collected in Roanoke classrooms for use there.
4th Grade science teacher at Crystal Spring Elementary, Lissa Armentrout, says the hands-on experience is what makes this lesson so appealing.
"It gives them a more visual of learning and seeing the patterns so they can go back to connecting the dots," said Armentrout.
In the end Parece gets her research, Roanokers benefit from that research through the community gardens and the kids that watch these gadgets get, not only good lessons... but perhaps an inspiration to take it all to the next level.
"Who knows..., Parece said."
"Maybe we have the next Sam Champion from the Weather Channel out there in Roanoke City Schools right now?"
While the district did have three stations set up as learning tools prior to this project the additional units have that number up to 15.
The devices are mounted on elementary and middle schools.
At a cost of $500 each grants were used to fund the project which will go on indefinitely.