On May 4th, 2015, the Center for Workforce Development and Diversity (CWDD) visited the middle school at Bellows Free Academy - Fairfax for a 2-day water quality workshop. Over 55 seventh grade students with their science teacher, Michelle Messier, learned how RACC researchers collect field data, make observations on the biotic/abiotic habitat, and use high-frequency sensors to answer water quality questions related to land use and climate change.
CWDD Director, Lindsay Wieland, discussed EPSCoR research with the students in the classroom, making connections between the local water quality issues in Vermont with the research being done by RACC scientists in the region. CWDD Research Technician, Janel Roberge, and Project Manager, Laura Yayac, helped students conduct habitat assessments in the nearby Mill Brook and Lamoille River.
On May 5th, the CWDD visited the classroom again to make further connections between land use and water quality. Students used the phosphorus and nitrogen data collected over several years by RACC high school teams to answer important water quality questions. They thought critically about how land use and their individual decisions may impact their local and regional environment.
RACC high school teacher, Tom Lane, and his student Rebekah Larose visited the class to talk about their experience in conducting water quality research with the CWDD, which culminated in a trip to the American Geophysical Union (AGU) conference last fall.