‘Project Earth’ star speaks at THS assembly

“Project Earth” star Jennifer Languell spoke to Thompson High School students at an assembly in the THS auditorium on Monday, Jan. 23 at 9:15 a.m. “Project Earth” is a reality television show that originally aired on the Discovery Channel in 2008.

“I’m an educator, and I’ve dedicated my life to green building and sustainability” Languell said. “We’re really just trying to expose the kids to the excitement of engineering, saving the planet and helping people. We want to inspire these kids.”

Languell described her experiences from working on projects and experiments designed to slow or stop global warming while filming “Project Earth.”

Some of these projects include performing an experiment to make clouds more reflective of the sun’s rays, attempting to reforest the certain barren areas through the use of helicopters and testing to see if glaciers can be prevented from melting by covering them.

THS engineering teacher Brian Copes said he reached out to Languell in order to give his students the opportunity to learn from a highly successful, professional engineer.

“This is a way to show professional engineering on cutting edge technology. Dr. Languell can give the kids information that I’m not able to give,” Copes said.

Copes said his classes watch reruns of “Project Earth” on a regular basis. He also said the show is educationally valuable and offers insight on green engineering.

“On Fridays, we take time out of class and I’ll show one of the ‘Project Earth’ episodes. Each Friday, the kids get to watch a different episode,” Copes said. “They’re seeing experiments, whether they’re successes or failures. They’re seeing people working in teams.”

According to Languell, there are ample opportunities for students to be environmentally conscious.

“I get that not everyone is going to be a nerd and an engineer, but being able to make informed decisions about how to use resources and moving forward in a more methodic way. We want kids to think,” Languell said.

Languell also said she hopes her presentation makes students think about their futures.

“Everyone can do something. Someone from here could one day win a Nobel Prize,” Languell said. “The future is unwritten.”

Languell thanked Copes for the opportunity to speak and praised him for his unique teaching methods.

“He has a passion for not just sitting in a classroom and reading books, but learning about what happens in the real world.” Languell said.

“He really does try and take the kids and get them into engineering and solving problems. I’m trying to support that. It’s a unique approach to teaching that you don’t see very often.”

Languell said she noticed a high level of investment in the students from Alabaster City Schools.

“They want to do the best for their kids. They want to do whatever it takes. It’s a little outside of the box, but if it gets one kid inspired, cool.” Languell said