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Juniata Education Students Create Water-Quality Camp

(Posted April 1, 2002)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College education students and students from the college's environmental science hydrology class will teach fifth-graders from two area schools about water quality in streams, wetlands and lakes from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 5 at the college's Raystown Field Station.

The educational outreach effort, called "Water Camp," is a pilot program designed to introduce elementary school-age children to environmental science. About 100 students from Southside Elementary School in Huntingdon and Brady-Henderson Elementary School in Mill Creek will spend the day at various teaching stations learning about such concepts as groundwater quality, water testing and using insects to gauge water quality.

The teaching curriculum was developed by students in "Science Methods," an education class taught by Ron Pauline, associate professor of education, and a hydrology class taught by Dennis Johnson, assistant professor of environmental science. "In the fall we brought out the same classes for a wildlife camp, so a spring camp on water quality gives the fifth-graders a well-rounded experience," Pauline explains. "The Juniata students have created the curriculum and decided on a teaching strategy that makes science concepts understandable to young children."

The elementary students will be divided into groups and visit five teaching stations. The research stations that each student will visit are as follows:

--Groundwater: Students will use clay, aquarium gravel and sand to build a miniature aquifer.

--Wetlands: Students will visit a pond a short distance from the field station's farmhouse to study how a wetland functions as a small ecosystem.

--Stream Critters: This station will focus on how certain species of insects can be used as an indicator of water quality. For example, several species of mayfly only occupy streams with pristine water quality. If those species are collected at a stream it indicates high water quality.

--Stream Testing: Students will use test kits and other methods to find out if there are chemicals or other substances in a stream.

--Lake: Students will get to see the differences in quality and chemical composition between lake water and water in steams and wetlands. Students will perform several tests at this station.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.