Lower Fox River Watershed Monitoring Program
We are a network of teachers and students from high schools in Northeast Wisconsin collaborating with university scientists on a long-term watershed monitoring program. Our students and teachers monitor seven environmentally impaired streams in the Fox River watershed for water quality and ecological health.
Our data provides a measurement of pollution that flows to the Fox River and Bay of Green Bay. This runoff pollution is the type of pollution that contributes to the much publicized “dead zone” in the bay of Green Bay. So beyond the innovative educational benefits our program provides for our students, we also provide the community with crucial data about our water quality that can be used to assess long-term trends and evaluate restoration efforts.
Anna Qualls told other high schoolers about her internship during the Lower Fox River Watershed Symposium, March 2023.
Aspiring Environmental Engineer Gets Hands-on Experience During High School Internship
For aspiring environmental engineer Anna Qualls gaining hands-on lab and field experience is an important part of her career path. A summer internship last year was exactly the jumpstart she was looking for.
She conducted stream monitoring, fish surveying and wild rice monitoring; went on field trips to the Farmory and Cat Island; and participated in multiple community events — and she did it all before her senior year of high school.
Qualls, who will graduate from De Pere High School this spring, was the first high school intern to participate in UW-Green-Bay’s Freshwater Summer Scholars Internship Program, which is supported by the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin. The program will expand to six interns this summer.
Anna Qualls’ favorite part of her high school internship with UW-Green Bay was stream monitoring.
“I wanted to gain research experience before going to college and I wanted more exposure in the environmental field,” she says. “My favorite part was the stream monitoring and water chemistry because I loved going to the streams to perform physical tests, and I also loved performing water chemistry in the lab.”
The internship program provides high schoolers with opportunities to explore water science and participate in UW-Green Bay research projects. Students are mentored by a faculty or staff member, a graduate student or a qualified undergraduate under the supervision of a faculty/staff member. Current projects include water-quality monitoring in regional streams, laboratory analysis of surface water quality, stream restoration projects, and wetland restoration projects.
In addition to gaining field and laboratory skills, Qualls assisted UW-Green Bay professionals at two Phrag Fests and a Sunset on the Farm event. She also was the student speaker at the Lower Fox River Watershed Monitoring Program Annual Symposium in March, where she encouraged high school students in attendance to consider applying for this summer’s internship program.
“I had an amazing summer. It made me appreciate the environment even more, and it solidified my desire to go into environmental engineering,” says Qualls, who plans to enroll at UW-Madison. “I hope my work as an environmental engineer is for the benefit of the environment and helping to implement sustainable solutions to environmental issues.”