Students get dirt on water pollution

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 11, 2004

COAL GROVE - When the earth gets dirty, it is not long before the water we drink gets dirty, too.

That fact was demonstrated in detail Monday for Dawson-Bryant Middle School science students.

Using an enviroscape, Lawrence Soil and Water Conservation District Education Coordinator Carrie Yaniko showed students that the chemicals poured into the ground will eventually make their way into the area's watersheds, then creeks and streams and, eventually, into the river. The enviroscape is a large board with a simulated landscape of farms, factories and residential subdivisions. Crisscrossing the communities are creeks and rivers.

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Yaniko led students in discussing what sorts of chemicals could be applied to the ground in yards, on farms and around factories that could seep into the soil and then into the waterways - things such as crop fertilizer, pesticides, cleaning solutions and motor oil.

"Think about all this going into your drinking water," Yaniko said as salt, oil and a brown liquid simulating cow manure oozed its way across the enviroscope and finally made its way into the river. "Now, think of some things that you can do to help prevent this from happening."

For seventh-grader John Willis, the discussion on point-source pollution was a new issue.

"I had never heard of it," Willis said. "We learned it's where you can see where pollution comes from. A lot of this was interesting."

"We're teaching a lot about the environment this year," seventh-grade science teacher Judy Sanders said. "Part of this is because of new state standards. We want to give them different ways they can be aware of water pollution in a hands-on way, not just talking about it."