There is a growing concern that many communities will not have the water resources to support anticipated population growth. Inadequate or degraded drinking water supplies are of a particular interest in rural areas where private wells are neither regulated nor tested frequently. To manage their natural resources wisely, policy makers and citizens can use student-centered projects to increase local participation and understanding.
The Groundwater Education Through Water Evaluation and Testing (Get Wet!) project, designed for rural communities where most homes are served by private wells, works with students in grades 5 to 12 to study drinking water quality. GET WET! organizers and volunteers work with local schools to have students sample their own well water which is then analyzed for several drinking water quality analytes as a class project. Portable laboratory test kits are used to provide reliable and accurate measurements suitable for student use. The results are used to map water quality in the community and also to encourage families to test their drinking water.
This community-based research offers opportunities to teach students and the community about local natural history and to draw the connection between land use and water quality. To build on these new relationships students are encouraged to present a public summary of their research that includes a discussion of the multiple uses of natural resources. Although the data generated serve useful purposes for education and community engagement, broader acceptance and trust of the results remain elusive. This project will lead to the generation and use of more accurate and reliable water analysis methods in the classroom.
Program Overview & Objectives
This project will evaluate the process used to generate accurate, trust-worthy data that will help to build trust, improve understanding of local groundwater, and improve knowledge of local drinking water quality while producing data that are of value to regulators and researchers. The project objectives are:
Senator George J. Mitchell Center
5710 Norman Smith Hall
University of Maine
Orono, ME 04469
Image Description: Students from Lamoine Middle School analyzing well water samples
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