STAATSBURG, N.Y. – A Staatsburg teen is using his love of art and science to pave a path to a career in environmental sustainability.
As a youngster, Beauregard Duval was into video game designing and electronic art.
He even attended summer camps on the subjects at Vassar College.
However, after enrolling at Oakwood Friends, a college prep school in Poughkeepsie, Duval got interested in science after taking a biology course.
“I had a falling out with art but then realized I could combine the two,” said Duval, now 18.
What he really loved about art, he said, was that he could get his hands on it, mold it and “have a big impact on it.”
Learning all he could about whatever project he was working on was a big factor, too, Duval said.
“A central question becomes, ‘If I did something here, how would it change something over there?’,” he explained.
That question helped him “bridge” his understanding of art with science, Duval said.
While at Oakwood, he and another student put together an independent study course.
Last year, they set up a “self-sufficient ecosystem” in a 55-gallon aquarium.
No filter was used and food either existed or was created without adding anything -- anything except a few aquatic snails and small fish, Duval said.
Amazingly, he said, the ecosytem is still functioning.
Duval plans to attend the University of Vermont this fall where he will take biology and environmental courses.
He will be staying in the university’s GreenHouse, a residential learning community that provides environmentally-themed programs for several hundred students each year.
Established in 2006, GreenHouse is a LEED-certified building designed to be energy efficient. It incorporates local and recycled construction materials.
The interdisciplinary community involves students, faculty, staff and mentors from the entire institution and from the greater Burlington area, according to uvm.edu.
Last summer, the green teen participated in several environmentally oriented programs at the Omega Institute, a nonprofit, educational retreat center in Rhinebeck.
“I’m all about applying the things I’ve experienced and learned,” Duval said. “Learning by doing is paramount to me.”
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