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Weather station installed near Food Forest

Weather station installed near Food Forest
Special to Eagle News. The battery of the weather station is powered by a solar panel.

Even though most days it’s a given that it’ll be really, really hot outside, there are some days when we all want a definite weather forecast. Now, a weather station on the FGCU campus is not only available to provide a daily weather forecast, but other useful weather data as well.

The station’s battery is powered by a solar panel and was installed Nov. 20 by Weather STEM, a platform that integrates weather, agriculture, public health and safety.

The cost of instrumentation and installation, which was $5,000, was donated by Weather STEM.

“We just said yes, we’ll set it in our property and use our Internet to run it,” said Laura Frost, the director of the Whitaker Center for STEM Education and a chemistry professor who helped coordinate the project.

Even though the station was recently installed, the project was developed during several past months.

“The fella who is the boss of Weather STEM — Ed Mansouri — he has this plan to put one weather station in every county in Florida and Lee County did not have one,” Frost said.

Weather STEM’s website and app are available for general use. Anyone can set the FGCU weather station as their access point and view the data from it. All of the Weather STEM’s stations can be seen on the grid.

“It’s kind of a cool map — you could touch your mouse anywhere and it can tell you what the weather is whatever point you pick,” Frost said.

Part of the reason the station was installed near the food forest is because its technology can also help with the development of the site. Not only with probes and sensors, but with a cloud camera. The camera was part of the installation and can be accessed using the website.

“The station has a whole bunch of sensors and probes,” Frost said. “You can see all the different sensors on the website that we have installed on that station.”

Frost said several faculty members have contacted her through email and told her they will be able to use the data in their classes.

“The other neat thing is you can download data from any of the stations and look at any kind of trends,” Frost said. “When you think about data mining and what you can do with big amounts of data, it’s a nice tool.”

Serge Thomas, an assistant professor for environmental studies, is one of the faculty members who will use the station because he thinks it’s a great tool for research.

Thomas used to maintain one of the faculty members who will use the station because he thinks it’s a great tool for research.

Thomas used to maintain with his own finances another weather station last year, but took it off.

“It was exactly the same as the one we have now at fgcuweather.info,” Thomas said. “I had a lot of students who used the data for their research and to write papers. I gave assignments where they had to download the data and find fun weather patterns and stuff like that.”

Users can also set weather alerts for lightning, thunder, wind, rain and solar ultraviolet light by creating an account. The system then sends emails, text messages and social media notifications to contact users.

“We’re fortunate that we were the site that was selected (in Lee County),” Frost said. “It’s a very powerful weather instrument.”

About The Author

Jimena Tavel

Jimena Tavel is an international student from Tegucigalpa, Honduras. She's a sophomore pursuing a double major in journalism and communication, and a minor in French. Jimena is the news editor for Eagle News, and aspires to become a news anchor someday. Along with her passion for news, she also has a passion for good humor. She spends most of her spare time reading novels, trying new foods and training for her first marathon. If you ever plan a trip to Honduras, you should definitely get in touch with her! She recommends exploring her favorite island in the world - Roatán, and all that it has to offer.

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