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Science students present findings

Students from the WELL Project - Watershed and Energy Learning Lab - are teaming up with our fantastic partners, the McKenzie Watershed Council, to present their findings at the first annual WATERS Conference this Thursday at the Bob Keefer Center, from 9:30 to 1:30 p.m.

The conference, hosted by McKenzie Watershed Council, will feature presentations from students from Springfield's high schools and middle schools who have participated in WELL projects in the field this year. Students will present their data collection and analysis to a panel of professionals from a variety of involved agencies for feedback and review. Students will then answer questions, and respond to comments and critique from our expert reviewers. Art will also be on display from students at Mohawk, McKenzie and Oakridge high schools.

"The program gives students unparalleled real-world skills that they can take with them to college and beyond," says Stephanie Lawless, SPS WELL Project coordinator. "This will be a fantastic opportunity for students to pull together all that they've learned in the field this year, with feedback from people who are actually doing this work."

Students from WELL's high school aquatic survey, water quality, water testing teams and Agnes Stewart's middle school restoration team will be leading the presentations, covering this year's field work, including (not in order):

1. A Long-Term Study of Water Quality in Cedar Creek (Austin Ackerson, THS independent study and THS water quality team member)
2. A Boulder Weir Analysis at North Fork Gate Creek in Vida (Hunter Putzier and Jason White, THS independent study and THS Aquatic Survey team members)
3. 2017-2018 South Fork McKenzie Water Quality Analysis (THS Water Quality Team Collaborative Project)
4. Comparative Study of Historic and Current Water Quality Data in the Springfield Mill Race (SHS Water Quality Team Collaborative Project)
5. Pre-Project Aquatic Survey Assessment of Deer Creek (Gwynneth Slater, SHS independent study and SHS Aquatic Survey Team member)
6. Analysis of Water Quality Health in Jasper Slough (ASMS 7th grade Science Class, Carrie Patterson)
7. Traditional Block Printing of the Pacific Northwest (Liana Edwards, Oakridge HS)

The poster session and art exhibit will include:

  • Analysis of Arsenic Levels (THS Well Testing Team)
  • Habitat Restoration & GIS Analysis of a Salmon Stream: North Fork Gate Creek (SHS Habitat Team)
  • Habitat Assessment & GIS Analysis of a Western Cascades Stream: Minney Creek (THS Habitat Team)
  • Marcola Poster (Mohawk High School Water Quality Team)
  • McKenzie Poster (McKenzie High School Water Quality Team)

The WATERS Conference (Watershed Action Teams for Education, Restoration and Stewardship) is a joint effort of the school district, the McKenzie Watershed Council, the regional chapter of the EPA, EWEB, OWEB, BLM and the Springfield Utility Board (SUB), which provides grant funding to the WELL Project. Retired US Forest Service hydrologist David Kretzing will deliver the Keynote speech. 

Coming up: The Watershed Restoration Olympics, which will take place on June 6 at Berggren Watershed Restoration Area. Teams from all four middle schools will compete in a range of events including mulching, fish and macro invertebrate identification, and finding native plants.

Background: Springfield's award-winning WELL Project has been providing hands-on water and energy science education for SPS students since 1998, funded by the Springfield Utility Board grants. The program focuses on improving the delivery of science education in our district and offering students the opprtunity to conduct field research and monitoring on local watersheds. For more information, visit www.theWELLproject.education, or watch this great video.