Water Symposium Held at Morgantown High

Student projects used samples from Deckers Creek

Morgantown Dominion Post
9 May 2012
By Alex Lang

Water quality research and bright, young scientists were on full display at Morgantown High School this week.

Dozens of MHS students had the chance to show off research projects to their classmates during a water symposium at the school. All of the projects involved water from Deckers Creek.

Each of the school’s science classes made a stop by the library for the symposium, said Carol Muniz, MHS’s technology integration specialist. The students had forms to fill out, which asked for information from each of the stations.

The stations were organized by classes such as AP Environmental Science. Freshmen created posters on topics such as the effect of pH (a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution) on grass height, and acid mine drainage and pH.

The research was funded by a $10,000 grant from the Toyota Tapestry. Muniz said the money went for probes to monitor water conditions. About 900 students directly benefited from the grant. The Friends of Deckers Creek also helped on the projects.

Seniors Josh Childs and Joanna Twist manned the first station and gave students an overview of the projects.

Childs said the creek starts in Preston County, just outside of Arthurdale. It cannot be used for swimming because the waterway has become polluted by acid mine drainage.

“The water quality is poor in many places,” Childs said.

Overall, the research found that the creek is doing better than it was a decade ago, Twist said. But there is still work to be done.

Sophomore Shruthi Sreekumar was studying while she waited for students to come by her station. Her area showed off work done through the EnvironMentors program, which paired WVU and MHS students for research projects.

Her project looked at using bioswales to stop storm water from entering the stream. A bioswale is a landscape element to help remove problem materials from runoff water. Storm water can cause problems for the stream through erosion and high levels of metals, Sreekumar said.

Sreekumar said she enjoyed participating in the research project and would like to do it again next year.

“I think it’s great,” Sreekumar said. “It was a great experience.”