Hancock County & Midcoast Maine May 31, 2019

Bagaduce River watershed place study

Teachers from Blue Hill, Maine, partnered with the local Heritage Trust to engage students in a study of the local watershed. Students conducted watershed sampling and surveys and wrote newsletters as they gained a new appreciation for their watershed.

We took an interdisciplinary approach to science and writing and developed a newsletter project about our local watershed. The project lasted for four weeks, and we’ve had former students return to tell us how meaningful the activity was to them. One student even donated her entire year’s allowance ($200!) to buy more water quality test kits so future students could complete the investigation, too.

Our Blue Hill Consolidated School has worked extensively with the Blue Hill Heritage Trust (BHHT) about our local watershed. Students visited different sites in the watershed and learned about them from a historical perspective. Students did water quality sampling and green crab surveys throughout the watershed (through the Ecosystem Investigation Network ) and used LaMotte Water Quality test kits to examine the water chemistry at each site.

The interdisciplinary approach was successful, and the opportunity for kids to continue the conversation about scientific topics in their writing classes strengthened understanding. Kids enjoyed the trips and field work and wrote some incredible newsletters. BHHT kindly hosted a competition and selected the top five “best” newsletters. The authors of those were invited to BHHT for a day where they learned about the nonprofit and enjoyed a pizza lunch. In the end, we even pulled in a couple other organizations — the World Ocean Observatory and Institute for Humane Education — which enriched the learning experience for the students.

This activity exemplified the following Connected Learning Ecosystem attributes:

  • Connecting educators
  • Connecting Informal and formal learning
  • Investigating climate change
  • Building data literacy

Submitted by teachers Kat Hudson and Nell Herrmann from Blue Hill Consolidated School, Blue Hill, Maine.