Students Explore Pathogen Pollution in Our Waters and the Beauty of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta

Saraland High School students and teacher, Ms. Maulucci, stop for a photo after their boat tour of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta. Photo Credit: Carolina Ruiz

On April 26, 2022, students from Saraland High School participated in the 4-H Alabama Water Watch Student Project Forum held at Blakeley State Park in Spanish Fort, AL.

The Forum was the culminating event for the 4-H AWW Project, Exploring and Mitigating Pathogen Pollution in Our Waters, which has been supported by the National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration’s Bays and Watershed Education Training Program (NOAA B-WET).

Saraland High School teacher, Ms. Marcy Maulucci, was part of the initial cohort of educators who learned to use the project curriculum, Exploring Pathogen Pollution in Our Waters (EOW) to engage students in activities related to the water environment, pathogen pollution, bacteriological monitoring, data analysis, and watershed stewardship.

Saraland High School students collected a total of 8 bacteriological water data records from two sites on their school’s campus. They submitted their data online to the AWW database and used the AWW Online Water Data tools to analyze and understand their results.  

Graph of Saraland High School student collected bacteria data. Source: AWW Water Data webpages

On April 26th, the students traveled to Blakeley State Park to participate in the Student Project Forum where they presented research posters with AWW Staff and other educators. Through their posters, they shared findings of their water monitoring  in Mobile County, as well as made comparisons to bacteriological monitoring data from other AWW sites that they explored through the AWW Water Data Tools.

The students did an AWWesome job!  We all agree with AWW Data Coordinator, Sergio RuizCórdova, who commented:

“Seeing these young ladies presenting, it was amazing for me. I told them that they made not just my day, but that they made my year, and my previous year, and my previous two years, because they did really great, and I was blown away by the way they looked at the data. I think the teacher did a great job, and I feel like they gave me hope!”

Following their presentations, the students had a chance to provide us feedback regarding their experience. Ms. Lisa Hurley, Escambia County Gifted Program Specialist, also participated in the project with her students, and attended the event. She asked the students if learning how to monitor water has changed their perspective of local waterways. The students all agreed that they will look at streams differently now. They think about what the water quality of a stream is, regardless of what it might look like. If they see trash, they want to clean it up. Ms. Hurley and Ms. Maulucci agreed that the project was a great way to integrate science and technology.

The students stand in “Tennessee” to admire their completed map. Photo Credit: Carolina Ruiz

The students worked together to create a map of Alabama, its major rivers, and River Basins before taking a boat tour of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta that was led by Captain Mike of Blakeley State Park.

Other students across the Coast participated in the project with their teachers, but unfortunately were not able to attend the Student Project Forum.

Students stop for a quick photo at the Port of Blakeley after their cruise. Photo Credit: Carolina Ruiz

We are proud of ALL of the participating educators and students, and thankful that the educators are making water monitoring a priority for their classrooms.

AWW Staff were ALL SMILES after spending the day with these great students and teachers. Photo Credit: Mona Dominguez