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Conservation, preservation meet at science fair

January 21, 2011

Sabrina Gonzalez, a senior at Big Spring High School, was named overall winner at the Big Spring Independent School District Science Fair, held Thursday at Dora Roberts Community Center. (HERALD photo/Steve Reagan)

Using just a few dollars of materials and an age-old idea, Sabrina Gonzalez designed a system that just might keep birds out of harm's way when they're passing near wind turbine farms.

Gonzalez's simple, yet elegant, solution to a problem that's been perplexing wind farm proponents was named the overall winner at the Big Spring Independent School District's annual Science Fair, held Thursday at Dora Roberts Community Center.

Everyone knows that if you want to scare a flock of birds away from your yard, all you need to do is yell at them. But what if it's the middle of the night? And no one is around? And, instead of your yard, the birds in question are flying headlong into wind turbine blades?

Wind turbine energy has been welcomed by almost everyone except bird enthusiasts — and, it goes without saying, birds themselves. It has been estimated that, in this area alone, at least 15 birds a month meet an untimely end at the hands of the turbine blades. That has bird enthusiasts up in arms and wind farm proponents scrambling for a solution.

So, for her science fair project, Gonzalez decided to see if sound could somehow be used to keep birds away from danger in this area.

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