Monday, July 19, 2010

News From The Watersheds: Americorp Member Updates - June 2010

Quarterly results are in for the AmeriCorps program and they are impressive. Members have recruited 1242 volunteers serving over 1400 hours from April 1 through the end of June 2010. Through the environmental and education activities initiated by members, 2095 disadvantaged youth in our region have learned more about the environment and their natural world. Activities included library programs, field trips, tree plantings, river and stream sweeps, and day camps. Continue reading below for additional highlights.

Highlights:

Karla Sanders, working with the Leading Creek Watershed Group, successfully recruited 17 volunteers to participate in the newly implemented Volunteer Monitoring Program. Additional volunteers working on the "Stories of Leading Creek" project have gathered 19 of the 20 stories needed to move forward with production of a booklet highlighting stories from the watershed, which is scheduled to go into production in mid-November 2010.

Matt Halfhill and Sarah Dreup from Monday Creek Restoration Project were instrumental in teaching youth in Hocking and Athens Counties about macroinvertebrates in area streams. The youth came away with a deeper understanding of the relationship of clean water to a healthy aquatic ecosystem. They reached approximately 300 students in 4 hours.
Member Melissa Thorne of Huff Run Watershed Restoration Partnership conducted several events for students including Awareness Day and the Tree Planting event. A total of 120 students attended the tree planting and approximately 400 attended the Awareness Days field trips.

Raccoon Creek Partnership member Rina Caldwell went to local elementary schools and led programs related to coal mining, reclamation, watershed health, and ecosystems. She also assisted with several OU Environmental Studies students completing their leadership projects in the watershed. Rina's efforts reached over 1200 youth just in the month of May.

In April member Amy Kettner from Moxahala Creek led 55 children at Zane’s Landing park in an activity meant to illustrate the effects of pollution on their drinking water sources at the Earth Day on the Muskingum Environmental Fair. Clear plastic cups were handed out to the children and then filled with large gravel. The children then grabbed a ball of clay and flattened it to a pancake and placed it over the gravel in the cup. Smaller aquarium gravel was placed on top of the clay enough to slope up to the top on one side of the cup. The children then picked a fish or turtle and placed them in their lakebed. As the cups were filled with water Amy discussed that our water comes from an aquifer (the water contained under the clay layer in the cup) or a surface lake (the water at the top of the cup). When everyone’s cups had been filled, the kids observed how the water made it easily past the clay, to the bottom of the cup and a nice little lake for an animal to swim in was created. Red food coloring to represent pollution was then added to the demonstration cups. Smiles of adults present grew quite big when all the children immediately covered the top of their cup with their hands. Not one child in attendance at the fair was willing to pollute their watershed!

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