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’s 21st CCLC program, the largest U.S. out-of-school program, serves over 1.5 million students in all 50 states. It provides academic enrichment opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) during vacation time, particularly for students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools.
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!