RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- Science fairs are pretty common, but one local school is taking the idea to a new level. Students are finishing a hands-on project that tackles a real community issue.
8th graders at Depaoli Middle School are taking a closer look at the land around their school.
"We're studying our environmental impacts," said Heather Renner, an 8th grade student.
They're analyzing the wetlands and how urban development is affecting them.
"It gives us a hands-on project so we don't always have to be sitting in the classroom," said 8th grader Josephine Catalano.
"I like how we're actually getting into the wetlands and figuring out what they're about," said Aric Turner, another 8th grade student at Depaoli.
While it's a fun project, they say it's also an important one.
"It gives us a taste of what's really happening in our world," Catalano said.
Balancing development and environment is a challenge real estate developer Perry Di Loreto faces daily.
"Wetlands bear a lot of significance in our opinion," Di Loreto said. "There's a lot of responsibility that goes along with developing property. It's kind of like they were here first, all those little critters."
He said he hopes learning these lessons early will have a long-lasting impact on the Depaoli students.
"It's wonderful that kids are involved," Di Loreto said. "It could, you know, lead into a whole area of education or a field that they may want to study in, which I'm sure they would find very rewarding."
Even if it's not their career, they know it will be a part of their life.
"Through the future, that's something we're going to have to be worrying about as adults," Turner said.
Their choices will impact if development and environment can both thrive.
"Really what we do in our future determines the animals' future," Renner said. "We're trying to help save what we have for future generations."
About 180 students participated in this project, using skills from english, social studies and science classes.