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8th grade science classes learn about storm water pollution

Piedmont Middle School eighth grade science classes learned about stormwater pollution from the City of Monroe Engineering Department this Spring.

Carol Hambridge and James Cook of the Stormwater Education Program used an interactive three dimensional watershed model called an Enviroscape to show the impact of stormwater pollution on our streams, rivers and lakes.  They gave students a hands-on way for students to explore ways to reduce stormwater pollution using preventive measures known as Best Management Practices (BMPs).

The oceans hold 97% of the Earth’s water while 2% of the Earth’s water is frozen and inaccessible, leaving 1% of Earth’s water suitable for drinking.  Only one gallon of motor oil can pollute one million gallons of water.  

Throughout the presentations, students earned promotional items such as pens, water bottles and sunglasses as they answered questions about water and pollution.  The plastic landscape showed how point-source and nonpoint-source pollution gets into our water: red dye in the factory, chocolate sprinkles in the cow fields and in neighborhoods to represent pet waste, soap on a toy car to show a car getting washed, dirt in a construction area, dried herbs under a tree, and something dissolvable in the yards for grass fertilizer.  Most of the students volunteered to help set up the scenario.  Then they used a spray bottle to simulate rain.  All of the “rain” washed into the storm drains and into the body of water where the students could see the different pollutants swirl together.

In a poll about the visit, James R. Price III, eighth grade science student, reflected “that everything we do can affect what happens in the environment.”  

“I didn’t realize how contaminated our water is,” wrote Maddi Hinson, eighth grade science student.

Many other students echoed their revelations and the majority suggested we invite them to present the Enviroscape next year.

The Environmental Protection Agency explains that the Clean Water Act, passed in 1972, gave the United States a national goal “to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters.”  The CWA also gave citizens a strong role to play in protecting and restoring waters.

“I love having a representative from the Stormwater Engineering Division come to speak to our students about water pollution,” explained Gina Blalock, the eighth grade science teacher who coordinated the visit.  “It gives them a real-world perspective on the content that we are studying in the classroom and shows how they can either contribute to the problem or be part of the solution.”

Written by: Karen Barbee - PE/Health Teacher
Posted: May 26, 2015 by Karen Barbee

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