Cincinnati-area high school students get their feet wet having fun with water science

WaterScienceCamp

University Marketing + Communications 

CINCINNATI, OH – Twenty-one high school students jumped feet first to learn about monitoring and protecting area watersheds through the “Fun with Water Science Camp”, a partnership between the Greenacres Foundation and Northern Kentucky University. 

During the weeklong camp earlier this month, students from Central America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia learned about monitoring and protecting our watersheds. They were recruited from three Cincinnati high schools: Withrow University, DePaul Cristo Rey, and Walnut Hills through the English Language Learners (ELL) Foundation, Inc.

Students splashed into streams and ponds located at the Greenacres Foundation in Indian Hill, and cruised down the Ohio River on a riverboat to monitor water chemistry and to find water quality indicator organisms.

“This camp gave students a real opportunity to learn about various water-related scientific careers and see how the science we study in schools is applied in the real world to solve problems and make the world a better place,” said Anne Lyon, Director, and Greenacres Water Quality Project LLC.

Interspersed with the science experiments, water testing activities, and biomonitoring were tours of local sites to learn about applying science. 

On the first day students visited an experimental stream facility operated by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and a sub-surface flow wetland demonstration to control agricultural nutrient pollution. On the second day they were hosted by the Greater Cincinnati Water Works treatment plant.

Later in the week they observed innovative agricultural techniques used at Greenacres such as solar controlled mobile egg laying operations, and free range chicken operations with rolling protective pens moved to maximize soil fertilization of pastures.

On the last day, students visited Procter & Gamble’s Innovation Center where they experienced fun hands-on chemistry demonstrations and learned about innovative manufacturing operations that minimize pollution.  The camp ended at Fernald, a former nuclear plant, where groundwater pollution has been cleaned up and the area turned into an educational wetland. 

“As a teaching assistant in this camp, it was very rewarding for me to be able to share my college experiences with this group of students, showing them the value of attending college and pursuing careers in science,” said Keith Privé, a junior studying Biological Science at NKU.

An important facet of the camp focused on careers. Students interacted with numerous scientists from Clermont Soil and Water Conservation District, the EPA Experimental Stream Facility, Greater Cincinnati Waterworks, ORSANCO, Greenacres Foundation, Northern Kentucky University, P&G, and Fernald. They learned about the paths these scientists followed to get to their current positions. 

“The Cincinnati area is poised to become a leader in water technology and there will be numerous job opportunities for the young people of our community as that plays out.  We not only got those opportunities on the radars of our students, but allowed them to become better stewards of our river through this experience,” said Heather Mayfield, Director of the Foundation for the Ohio River Education.

The camp received additional support from Procter and Gamble and the Foundation for Ohio River Education. For more information about the camp and the ELL Foundation, Inc., please visit  http://www.ellfoundationcinci.org/ or http://www.green-acres.org/.