Wednesday, May 15, 2019

May Catalyst Newsletter Highlights How Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition Engages Youth In Watershed Ed Programs

The May issue of The Catalyst newsletter from the Butler County-based Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition highlights a number of ways the Coalition engages youth in watershed-related program and supports their environmental education activities
Grove City Hillview Intermediate Eco Club
On March 27th, SRWC participant Cliff Denholm was invited to give a presentation to the Grove City Hillview Intermediate School’s Eco Club.
The Eco Club is made up of about 30 students in grades 3rd through 5th who meet after school with their awesome teachers/club leaders Tyler Cathcart, Amanda Wilhelm and Brian Regis.
In addition to talking about the SRWC, Cliff used this opportunity to talk about watersheds, the importance of water quality, using natural resources wisely, mining, formation of AMD and passive treatment.
Cliff was very impressed with the young students and their interest in the environment.
Cliff gave the group iron oxide recovered from our De Sale Phase I system which they used to tie-dye t-shirts.
Cliff returned to the school on April 26th to help out with their “Trout In The Classroom” trout release day where he taught the students how to test water quality. The students’ enthusiasm for testing water and being scientists brought many a smile to Cliff’s face.
While the cold heavy rains may have soaked many of the students to the bone, it didn’t stop them from having a great time! While some students “fell” into the creek, others obviously just jumped in.
Other cool activities included looking for macroinvertebrates (aquatic insects), fishing, and birding with the Audubon Society, but the highlight of the day was releasing the brook trout that they raised to help both Trout Unlimited and the Fish & Boat commission stock trout in Wolf Creek.
The event concluded with a picnic lunch provided by Assistant Supervisor Dr. Josh Weaver. Cliff had a great time and looks forward to working with this great group of teachers and students in the future.
Slippery Rock U. Students Sample Wolf Creek
On April 30th, Cliff Denholm once again met with Slippery Rock University Parks, Conservation & Recreation students from Dr. Shawn Davis’s Natural History of Ecosystems class to conduct monitoring at Wolf Creek.
Cliff provided an overview about the SRWC and taught students how to test for water quality and interpret the results.
Professor Shawn Davis worked with the students to conduct flow measurements of the stream while graduate student Jake Smith led the students on macroinvertebrate sampling and identification.
As always, Cliff really enjoyed being outside working with the students to help provide them a valuable hands-on learning experience.
Westminster College Student investigates Metals Recovery
Westminster College has been an active partner with the Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition for many years. This semester, they have taken on a much more involved project.
Students from the Environmental Project Management Academy class under the direction of co-professors Dr. Helen Boylan, Dr. Alison DuBois, and Brian Petrus have been investigating the potential to recover metals from passive treatment sludge.
The class is unique as it is a “cluster course” which combines the “Project-Based Environmental Science” and “Principles and Practices of Project Management” courses with an “Embedded Leadership” seminar into one class where science and business majors work together and share their individual skill sets and talents to take on an environmental challenge.
SRWC participant Cliff Denholm of the nonprofit Stream Restoration Incorporated has been providing assistance to the group as needed.
Cliff first met with the class on February 8th to provide an overview of passive treatment and discussed the need and challenges associated with resource recovery.
Cliff then met with the students on February 21 and 26 when the students and professors braved the cold to visit and sample several passive treatment systems including De Sale Phase 1, De Sale Phase 2, McIntire, and BC16. The students collected water and sludge samples for laboratory analysis.
The students will be presenting their findings on May 3rd at the Western Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (WPCAMR) quarterly meeting. We are looking forward to hearing about their findings.
Want To Participate In Outdoor Learning Labs?
If you are a teacher or homeschool parent and are interested in having your students participate in outdoor learning labs similar to the activities mentioned in this month’s Catalyst [in the area the Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition works], contact Cliff at 724-776-0161; and be sure to check out the many awesome outdoor programs offered at Jennings Environmental Education Center!
Click Here to read the May Catalyst.  Click Here to sign up for your own copy of The Catalyst.
The Catalyst newsletter is distributed to over 1,200 individuals in over a dozen countries including: Brazil, Peru, South Korea, Mexico, England, Wales, Venezuela, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Germany.
For more information on programs, initiatives and upcoming events, visit the Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition website.
(Photo: Hillview Intermediate Eco Club students looking for macroinvertebrates.)

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