The Climate Resiliency Fellows is a program of the Nisqually River Education Project, South Sound GREEN and Chehalis Basin Education Consortium. After the annual Summer Teacher Institute, the Fellows meet quarterly to talk climate science, explore new curriculum and support each other in bringing climate change education into the classroom. Lourdes Flores Skydancer is a teacher at Evergreen Elementary and one of our Climate Resiliency Fellows this year. Thanks for sharing your class’ experiences with water quality testing and monitoring, Lourdes!
We were fortunate enough to have Rachel Standahl from the Climate Resiliency team worked with our fifth graders teaching them about water quality in their very own town of Shelton, Washington. Students learned how our human actions on land affect the quality of the water in our watersheds, and eventually, affecting our oceans. They learned to sample the creek waters and how to do tests to determine the quality of its waters.
By observing and manipulating a watershed model provided by UW Sea Grant volunteers, the fifth graders could observe what happens when pesticides are used in the gardens and get transported with the run off towards the creek. In the same manner, they observed how pets’ and farm animals’ exhaust, and oil leaking from cars, also end up in our streams.
Rachel and the Climate Resiliency team helped us prepare for water quality testing by providing us with the testing kits and refills of the non reusable materials needed. She and her team visited the classrooms to teach students how to prepare for testing the water samples. Fifth graders had the opportunity to practice before doing the testing with the water from the creek.
Many students became very interested in the testing method to monitor the quality of the water and quickly learned how to do each test. By the time we finished testing all the samples, they became experts! Some students decided to take further steps and use the kits to sample different parts of the creek and even different creeks that run along their hometown Shelton. Some students took even a further step by thinking of solutions to clean oily water!
All in all, we are thankful for the Grant received by the Climate Resilience team, and for our leader Rachel, because we received expertise and materials to conduct water quality testing which allowed us to realize the importance of clean environments and the importance of reducing actions that lead to contamination of our clean waters. This has been a very integrated learning experience for our fifth graders!