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Community Connections

Science. Education. Community.

Over the past two decades, the LFRWMP has successfully emerged as a shining educational star involving the successful collaboration of UW- Green Bay, area high schools, and community partners. This collaboration, in turn, has shown potential to make valuable contributions to regional environmental protection and public policy. The educational benefits of the project are obvious, but these wider applications set the program apart from most other innovative educational initiatives.

Our work is significant to the broader community in two ways: We provide innovative hands-on environmental science opportunities for students and we add to a body of scientific data about our watersheds. First, our students and teachers regularly monitor seven environmentally impaired streams in the Fox River watershed for water quality and ecological health. When we engage high school students in the collection of water quality data, we begin to inspire and educate future water scientists, engineers, managers, policy makers, community leaders, and ultimately, future Great Lakes stewards.

Secondly, with over two decades of success, this established framework has produced more than 20 years of high quality baseline data to better inform us about the health of the Fox-Wolf River Basin. For example, Brown County is currently using our data to measure the success of rural stream buffers on downstream water quality at Baird Creek. So beyond innovative educational benefits, the school-based teams contribute to an established database of water resource conditions that can be used to assess long-term trends and evaluate restoration efforts.

Watershed teams not only collect seasonal data, they also explore independent research projects about their watersheds that benefit their local communities directly. For example:

  • What Effect Does Land Use Have on Nitrogen Levels in Spring Brook?
  • The Effectiveness of Detention Basins on Apple Creek
  • Conductivity and City Salting Practices in the City of De Pere
  • Benefits of Buffers in the Baird Creek Watershed

Additionally, our students work on a variety of outreach projects. For example, our students created informational videos about water quality in our region and shared them at events like the Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance Stormwater Conference and Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary.

Educational Impact

We envision that students involved in this program will go on to be our water planners, scientists, engineers, and leaders of the future. This evolution is already happening…past student participants have gone on to study and perform research on our campus and elsewhere. We even have a LFRWMP alumnus with an education degree from UW-Green Bay, who is now a high school environmental science teacher and she is currently leading our Trout Creek monitoring team!

What do our students say?

“I liked the fact that we don’t just learn in the classroom, but we apply it in the field. Stream monitoring gives me real life experience. I now have a general understanding of what I would do and makes me want to pursue my career in natural science even more!”—Ryan, West De Pere HS

Our annual Teacher Training Workshop enhances teachers’ ability to teach watershed science.

What do our teachers say?

“The program provides great hands-on learning opportunities for our students and helps them understand the impacts we have on the water quality here locally. It is a wonderful opportunity to get out of the classroom and know that the data we are collecting can have a positive impact.” - Mark Valentine, Aldo Leopold Community School
 “Being involved with the program connects students to their environment in ways you cannot replicate any other way. It’s as simple as that”- Dana Lex, West DePere High School