Summertime is the perfect time for a little scientific fieldwork. This summer, NCEI scientists joined 50 student scientists from the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Gulf Coast–Hancock County Unit in Mississippi to investigate water quality on the Magnolia Bayou, an important urban waterway located in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. This hands-on science was a part of a NOAA-21st Century Community Learning Center Watershed (CCLC) STEM Education Partnership Grant.
The Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, an outreach program of Mississippi State University, received a NOAA-21st Century Grant to lead a summer watershed education program with students from the Boys and Girls Club.
NOAA-21st CCLC Watershed STEM Education Partnership projects deliver authentic STEM experiences that use components of the NOAA Bay-Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) program’s meaningful watershed educational experiences, which incorporate multi-stage learning both outdoors and in the classroom. Through this collaboration of two highly successful programs, these grants allow experienced B-WET providers to work with 21st CCLC sites to provide educational experiences to students by leveraging NOAA resources to increase participants’ understanding and stewardship of watersheds and related ecosystems.
NCEI scientists Lauren Jackson, Madalyn Newman, Jonathan Jackson, and communications specialists Barbara Ambrose and Angela Sallis guided small groups of students in late June as they conducted the simple water quality tests at the Magnolia Bayou measuring temperature, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, and pH. The students carefully recorded the data and will use the information as a part of the STEM program. The program is designed to teach the students about watershed dynamics, impacts of stormwater runoff on water quality and quantity, and the importance of watershed planning and action.
After finishing all of the experiments, one student scientist said that the outing was “the coolest thing ever.” The NCEI scientists agreed!