FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 23, 2014
MANDARIN HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS LEARN ABOUT WATER QUALITY
~ DEP teaches students about connection of water quality and affected plants and animals~
JACKSONVILLE – The Department of Environmental Protection partnered with Mandarin High School this week for their third annual outreach event to teach students about water quality and affected flora and fauna. The department uses a stormwater pond located on school property to present students with samples and information at three stations that include water quality, macro invertebrates (insects), and plants. Approximately 270 students attended the two-day event.
“Public involvement and cooperation is the ultimate key to successfully restoring our state’s natural water resources,” said Tom Frick, director of the Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration. “These public education programs help to develop a responsive and informed public by inspiring early knowledge and appreciation for our state’s invaluable water bodies.”
The program began at the on-site stormwater pond and continued into the classroom. Each morning DEP representatives took water-quality samples at the surface and at the bottom of the stormwater pond and collected samples of plant life and insects. All the water-quality data was provided to teachers for use in their classrooms to allow students to trace water quality changes over time.
At outdoor stations, staff and students discussed pH and dissolved oxygen levels in the water and how these factors can change or disrupt an ecosystem. Students were also presented with insect and plant samples from the stormwater pond. Department representatives examined the insect and plant samples and explained how the presence of various insects and plant life can be used to assess the presence of pollution in a water body, or to measure the health of a lake or stream. Students also learned how to identify invasive plant species and how these species can affect Florida’s native habitats.
Altogether the stations provided students with a better understanding of water quality and pollution in Florida, and how changes in these concepts can affect entire habitats.