Webster Intermediate School, Auburn, ME, United States


Brrr...How COLD Is the Water? To a lot of vacationers, especially those in northern areas, testing the water temperature helps them decide whether to take a swim or just take out the fishing boat. But the water temperature is an important part of these GLOBE student's field work.

Cool Water, Warm Reception

But to GLOBE students from Webster Intermediate School in Auburn Maine, testing Lake Auburn water temperature is just one of the hydrology measurements they must take to help scientists monitor the lake's water quality.

GLOBE teacher Ms. Patty Gaudreau said her sixth graders know their data collection is important because scientists need the information and because the community needs the lake. Lake Auburn is the sole source of water for the 75,000 residents of Maine's "twin cities," Lewiston and Auburn.

"We have a nice relationship with the water department, which has expressed great interest in what we're doing," said Ms. Gaudreau. "That kind of feedback is powerful." Mary Jane Dillingham, the biologist who is Water Quality Manager for Lewiston Water Division and Auburn Water District, was impressed with the sophisticated level of understanding on the part of Ms. Gaudreau's GLOBE students.

"I told them I take pH readings and temperature readings, too. They were so enthusiastic and they were on top of it," Ms. Dillingham said. "When I think of GLOBE, I think of the way the kids understand the bigger picture and the relationship between their measurements and the ecology of the lake. They're a cut above in terms of understanding the relationships between pH, water temperature, and water quality."

Ms. Dillingham added that GLOBE and the related learning activities that Ms. Gaudreau uses enhances her own and the water district's education and conservation efforts. The lake is vulnerable to pollution, so monitoring and conservation efforts are crucial, according to Ms. Dillingham.

"These kids have a different respect for water quality and for the environment in general. That's really the way we're going to protect Lake Auburn," Ms. Dillingham said.

The Webster students also take part in the annual "budburst" observation important for determining climate change.

12 May 2000




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