UHD’s Watershed Wonders Summer Research Camp was recently recognized for in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Accomplishments Report for Fiscal Year 2014. The report highlights the top-performing recipients of the Bay Watershed Education and Training (BWET) program.
In 2013, the NOAA awarded UHD a two-year, $100,000 grant to train high school teachers and students in meaningful watershed experiences. Developed with those funds, the Watershed Wonders Camp is an interactive environmental laboratory for area high school students in Houston ISD and CyFair ISD, as well as charter school partners Harmony Schools Charter ISD and George I. Sanchez Charter School.
UHD instructors Bradley Hoge, Mian Jiang, Poonam Gulati, and Jon Aioki lend their STEM and watershed-related research expertise to the project. Undergraduate research leaders from the Scholars Academy assisted in each of the professor’s labs to help advance their investigations.
The first camp was held in summer 2014, and preparations for year two began in November, with a two-day teacher workshop in which instructors learned to use probeware and digital data to begin collections. During the camps, participants work in teams to conduct research by collecting environmental data from Buffalo Bayou and other watersheds located near their respective campuses.
By the end of the program, over 40 teachers and up to 45 students will have been engaged in problem-based learning (PBL), investigating the soil, water, diatom analyses associated with the health of the watershed in which their ISD and school campus reside
All data collected will be uploaded to a website hosted by PBWorks.org website, giving local educators access to the findings. The collections will allow researchers to better understand how watersheds influence the Gulf of Mexico along the Galveston area.