On Tuesday, May 19, 52 fifth grade students, two teachers, and two parent volunteers traveled to the Top Crop wind farm in Dwight, Illinois, to participate in EDP Renewables' KidWind Day.
The children and chaperones arrived at the Top Crop O&M building at 8:30 a.m. and were divided into two groups. Group one watched a PowerPoint presentation that explained how a wind farm is built (this proved to be most interesting to the students), how the turbines produce electricity, and how the electricity travels to where it is needed. The children were very surprised to learn the number of houses Top Crop is able to power and the fact that the electricity can travel all over the U.S., to wherever it is needed.
After the presentation, the students learned about safety in the wind industry and were shown all of the PPE used on the job including climbing harnesses (which the students tried on and got to understand firsthand just how heavy they are!), flash suits, switching sticks, HV gloves, hard hats, steel-toed shoes, and safety glasses.
Group two was taken out to the maintenance bay to participate in a blade building exercise. The students were given materials necessary to design and build the blades and later were able to test their designs on turbine models provided by KidWind. EDPR NA volunteers Jaimeet Gulati (Performance Analysis Manager), Dushyant Tank (Senior Performance Engineer), Sara Jih (Performance Associate), and Alex Apel (Turbine Reliability Engineering Specialist) helped the children build and test their blade designs.
While the students were busy learning about the wind farm and testing their blade designs, Megan Baer (Rail Splitter Administrator) and Lori Devore (Twin Groves Administrator) assembled a healthy "wind"-themed lunch including a turbine turkey and pickle, pita bread and apple, and chicken salad filled cucumber boats on a sea of tortilla chips and avocado alligators.
The day concluded with a tour of the wind farm. The children opened the bus windows to hear the blades and see the substations and also asked intelligent questions that tested the knowledge of Gulati and Russell Cooke (Top Crop Operations Manager).
Following the tour, the students returned to school around 2 p.m. and quickly wrote thank you cards to EDPR staff members that were later delivered by one of the teachers. Reading the cards reinforced the importance of teaching children in the community about what EDPR does.
In addition to those employees who were listed in this article, a thank you also goes to Jill Cooke (Top Crop Administrator) and Aaron Weippert (Top Crop and Rail Splitter Operations Manager) who were instrumental in making the execution of this event.