The Watershed Academy for High School Students kicked off its first week with approximately 20 enthusiastic participants from various area high schools. The academy aims to provide these aspiring young environmentalists, scientists, and naturalists with summer instruction and hands-on immersive experiences in research and advocacy.
During the Stream Science session, students learned valuable skills such as developing effective research questions and testing their assumptions. Divided into three groups, each group chose a specific topic to study. One group focused on investigating the effects of concrete debris on water quality, while another group explored the impact of a wastewater treatment plant outflow on water quality. The third group was interested in understanding the influence of a dam on water quality. To gather data, the groups took water samples along the Beden Brook, conducted tests for various elements and contaminants, studied aquatic life, and examined water characteristics. The process led to some surprising conclusions.
According to the students, the week was a perfect blend of learning and fun, and they highly recommended the program to their friends. The academy’s upcoming sessions will delve into Forests and Water, Freshwater Wetlands, and Climate and Water. The final session will be hosted in collaboration with Princeton University’s High Meadows Environmental Institute.
These comprehensive experiences aim to engage students in scientific practices and environmental stewardship, fostering their awareness, investigation skills, action-oriented mindset, and leadership abilities. As they prepare to assume adult roles in their communities, these high school students will be well-equipped to make a positive impact on the environment.