UNT's Elm Fork Education Center will train an army of citizen scientists in the most pressing water supply and quality issues facing North Texas with support from the Wal-Mart Stormwater Grant Program.
A $99,941 grant will help UNT build on the success of an existing summer camp, X-Stream Adventure, in which children explore the Trinity River and learn about the reservoir's importance to Texas through fun, hands-on activities.
Under the new Wal-Mart Watershed Ambassadors program, families will spend one day a month for up to six months collecting water samples and fish and aquatic insects, running chemical tests, and compiling and analyzing data to build an understanding and profile of the region's water supply.
In addition, UNT will offer a graduate-level biology course in Watershed Ecology for elementary and middle school science teachers. The three-week intensive summer institute will be designed and taught by UNT biology faculty and a master teacher with classroom and outdoor teaching experience. The program will engage teachers in a firsthand exploration of the area's water issues, so they can reach students as well as fellow teachers.
"The Trinity River watershed shapes the region's political and social history, and its future," says Brian Wheeler, Elm Fork director. "By helping young people recognize and reflect on the relationship between humans and their environment, programs at Elm Fork ensure that the next generation of North Texas leaders learns to carefully steward natural resources like the Trinity."
Both programs aim to raise awareness on issues such as pollution, water conservation and water rights.
Elm Fork is the public education branch of UNT's environmental programs. It was founded in 1996 as a partnership between UNT, Denton and Lewisville schools, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.
Sarah Bahari with UNT News Service can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.