Insects, genetic engineering, and reptiles are the subject of the website of the Phillips Academy Environmental Conservation Society, which was launched last week to promote awareness of world environmental issues. Emily Weston ’04, the website’s Editor-in-Chief, and A. Elizabeth Polk-Bauman ’04, its Managing Director, began developing PAECS when they applied for a grant from the Abbot Academy Association last spring. They then worked over the summer to develop it. “We decided that [we] would update the community on global current events…to promote the concern we shared for our environment,” wrote Weston and Polk-Bauman in a joint e-mail. The girls decided that an online journal made the most sense, since it would reach more readers on and off campus, reduce paper waste from the publishing of issues, and would not conflict with or challenge the efforts of the current environmental club on campus, ECO-Action. In addition, Weston and Polk-Bauman want to promote awareness of activities and events pertaining to environmentalism, spurring the student body to action. They wrote, “We created this site with the goal of bridging the gap between various political, historical, cultural, and artistic clubs through a common interest in a concern for the environment.” The site currently has a base of 11 writers who periodically write on occurrences of environmentally significant events around the world. Topics of some of this week’s entries include the connections between the recent California wildfires and beetle populations and the ecologically sound measurement of water levels. The article about the effect of the Western Pine Beetle on wildfires, written by Emily Monaco ’05, describes in detail the effects of the insects on the California forests. The effects of the beetle coupled with recent drought, according to Monaco, provided the perfect conditions for the devastating fires that raged in California just last week. Another article, written by Weston, describes what she intends to do next month in Costa Rica: conducting research on the world’s largest sea turtle, the leatherback turtle. The bulk of her article details the animal’s plight and the decline in population of the reptile. The PAECS website is located at www.paecs.org. Both Weston and Polk-Bauman hope that writers who, according to the website, realize “the importance of a regular source of information regarding environmental issues,” will emerge.