Niagara Falls: from honeymoon to Love Canal and back by RR Roll

Wasteland to parkland: the Cherry Farm/River Road Remediation by JG Goeddertz, JH Kyles, MS Raybuck

Niagara River toxics 2000 by Niagara River Secretariate

Involving youth in water quality issues by J Spisiak

Remedial action plans in Lake Ontario Basin

Coarse monomedia filtration: a solution to wet weather flow by BT Smith and KM Miller

Water resources management history project by RD Hennigan

Managing Mercury in Erie County by MC Rossi

People and places

President's message by AJ Zabinski

Executive director's report by P Cerro-Reehil

WEF news


Fall 2000 — Vol. 30, No. 3

 

Involving youth in water quality issues

Students from McKinley High School test water from the Buffalo River for E. coli.
by Jill Spisiak

Erie County has introduced water quality monitoring, environmental awareness, and habitat protection / restoration to elementary, middle, and high school students. During the 1999-2000 school year, the Department of Environment and Planning coordinated several programs. The following projects are only a few examples of what the students were able to accomplish.

An Environment Club was created at the Dr. Charles R. Drew Science Magnet School. Fifth-grade students spent the school year learning about birds, ecosystems, and habitats along the Buffalo River. Two existing restoration sites were cleaned, nesting boxes that the students built were installed, and native vegetation was planted. These events involved more than sixty volunteers from the surrounding communities.

Students from the Environmental Club plant vegetation and install nesting boxes.

An Environmental Exchange Program was established between Alden Central High School, a rural school in the upper Buffalo River watershed, and South Park High School, an urban school in the lower watershed. Students tested waters in Cayuga Creek, Cazenovia Creek, the Buffalo River, an emergent wetland, and a created wetland pond. The data collected will be categorized, mapped, and interpreted during the coming school year.

McKinley High School compared nine water quality parameters at two restoration sites and tested the Buffalo River and Cazenovia Creek. Students also mapped purple loosestrife at an emergent wetland at the Smith Street Restoration Site and later released leaf-eating beetles for a biological control experiment.

Sixth grade students from the Herman Badillo Bilingual Academy in Buffalo stenciled over fifty storm drains in surrounding neighborhoods that read "Don't Dump, Drains to Waterway." They also distributed educational flyers to the neighborhood homes that gave suggestions for proper disposal of hazardous wastes.

DEP is looking forward to working with these groups in the fall and spring of the 2000-2001 school year. Students who participated in these programs will share their research and programs and educate their peers at the 2001 Great Lakes Student Summit in Buffalo, NY.

DEP hopes to work with more Erie County schools in the future on a variety of projects to help promote environmental awareness in local communities.
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Jill M. Spisiak is an environmental education specialist with the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning, 716-858-8846. The programs described here benefited from a USEPA grant, the "Buffalo River Watershed Protection, Corridor, and Wetland Restoration Project." Click here for the Erie County Web site.


 

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