Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
Rivers to Reefs 2014
Mission Information

Monday: June 23, 2014
Log Day 2

Kaitlin Dunn; Autrey Mill Middle School, Johns Creek, GA
Ashley Scott, Henderson Middle School, Jackson, GA

Kaitlin Dunn

Teachers move through educational activities drawing their dream properties along a river

Divided into groups teachers, Brian Nicholas, Heather Davison, Monique Duggins, and Ashley Scott move through educational activities drawing their "dream" property along a river.
(Photo: Amy Rath)

Today's activities offered a great deal of information to increase our knowledge of Georgia's waterways, how to monitor the health of our rivers, and how to best communicate this information to students.

In the morning, we were given a crash course to learn about the state's hydrologic system, an overview of Georgia's watersheds, and a preview of the rivers that we'll be visiting on this trip. Since we all come from different areas of the state, we took some time to share a little about our own local environments and the kinds of activities that take place near our homes. I feel like I know so much more about Georgia now!

Group gathers along an imaginary river to discuss each person's input of nutrients and contaminants to the river system

After drawing their "dream" properties, the full group gathers along an imaginary river to discuss each person's input of nutrients and contaminants to the river system.
(Photo: Amy Rath)

The great thing about this workshop is that it is not strictly for science teachers. The members of our group teach a variety of subjects and represent a suite of grade levels.

I appreciate the many different suggestions for encouraging environmental literacy in schools and I have respect for the motivated educators who are willing to stretch their thinking and gain new knowledge to accomplish this important goal. Discussing ideas with others and hearing their many ideas for potential lessons related to watersheds sparked my own ideas for my classroom.

The second half of our day offered us practice at testing water samples and collecting data using various water quality indicators. I am excited to have officially certified by the Georgia Adopt-a-Stream Program. This certification is yet another tool that I will have for helping my students to find answers to their many questions about water quality and the health of our local environment. I feel that providing opportunities for my students to directly experience their surrounding will make them better stewards of our environment in the future.

Teachers collect their first water sample of the week at Shoal Creek near metro Atlanta, GA

Teachers collect their first water sample of the week at Shoal Creek near metro Atlanta, GA.
(Photo: Amy Rath)

Ashley Scott

Whew, what a hot day! Our adventure to Shoal Creek was exactly what I had expected. I imagined that we'd be in the water exploring more but I found that this was to be our 'foundations' portion of the workshop.

The bus ride from Shoal Creek to High Falls State Park was a nice break from the heat of the day and a great opportunity for a short nap. High Falls is a beautiful place, even on a humid, rainy day like today. I wish that we would've had more time to hike along the river. Park Ranger Allison introduced us to the park and talked with us about Towaliga, which means "roasted scalp" in the Creek Indian language (I think that's really cool).

We were then given an extensive lesson on water quality testing from Alexa with the Georgia Adopt-a-Stream Program. While it was tough to stay focused during the training portion (after all, we were surrounded by the beauty of nature), the actual water testing was interesting and held my attention better because we were all required to participate in the process.

Teachers conduct their first water sample testing of the week in the lobby of the hotel

In their group, teachers Laura Payne, Ben Wells, Jennifer Okiyama and Melanie Vaughn, conduct testing of their first water samples of the week in the lobby of the hotel after a long day of learning.
(Photo: Amy Rath)

Just a short ride from the park was our delicious dinner at Jonah's Pizza where I had a pesto-based pizza with feta cheese, super spicy jalapenos, spinach and mushrooms, very yummy! Finally arriving at our hotel for the night we conducted our official water quality tests of our water samples from Shoal Creek. After this jam-packed day I am definitely going to sleep well tonight!


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