Submitted by: Morgan Shirley and Rebecca Weidner-Wright
The River Guardians Water Testing Project was funded by a Youth Ocean Conservation Team mini-grant awarded after Morgan's participation in the 2015 Youth Ocean Conservation Summit in Sarasota, FL.
Through this project students were taught to use scientific water testing equipment, collect data, and understand the importance of preserving fresh water and the impact they have on their land to sea connection. Our Turtle Team provided weekly interaction, instruction and mentorship with a group of Boys & Girls Club members from late winter through spring at their club. We continued our efforts through the summer to engage even more Boys & Girls Club members along with other underserved youth organizations.
Love A Sea Turtle’s science and nature camp has been a life changing experience. The camp is focused on raising awareness about ecological and ocean conservation as well as increasing the summer science and nutrition education of underprivileged youth. Lessons were designed to give the students a unique, hands-on experience with science and help increase their awareness of environmental and ecological impacts of pollution and wastewater. We gave each child the opportunity to test water quality and catch organisms, just as conservation scientists and other professionals do, to keep track of the health of the planet. By teaching in this way, we raised awareness of the upstream pollution that will affect the ocean if left unchecked while also making it fun and engaging for students of all ages. These camps made a difference for the better in thousands of children’s’ lives this summer because this generation will be the ocean conservation leaders of the future. Every child deserves to have an education about science and ecology so they can be the leaders of the future!
The afterschool water testing program and summer camps touched the lives and minds of thousands of children, which will in turn help drive a movement in the future to protect our environment and especially our water systems. Our River Guardians program continues to expand throughout the state in schools, afterschool clubs and science and nature centers.