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Students Pilot Drones for Sustainability

Bernie Wolfe School was buzzing on April 26, as 25 students from five RETSD high schools piloted drones around a room on the school’s second floor. 

The students were taking part in a four-day workshop called the SEAR Program, which stands for Science Experiential Aerial Research. The program is designed to engage students in future career technologies and scientific discovery and give them the knowledge to develop solutions to local sustainability issues. Specifically, the students went over the details of drone technology, piloting, and machine learning in order to be able to use drones to identify Dutch elm disease in Winnipeg. 

Dutch elm disease is spread by the elm bark beetle and was first detected in Winnipeg in 1975, when the city’s American elm tree population was as high as 275,000, the largest urban elm forest in North America. However, since 2016, the inventoried elm population has dropped from 237,000 elms to 215,000.

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