Wednesday, January 16, 2013

School awarded environmental grant

$5,000 to be used for student studies of Trail Creek


The private Community School in Sun Valley announced late last week that it has been awarded a $5,000 environmental studies grant from the Teaching Research Institute at Western Oregon University.

In a press release, the school reported that the money will be used by grades K-12 to support studies of Trail Creek under the leadership of eighth-grade teacher Scott Runkel. In particular, the students will be monitoring the health of Trail Creek in the area where it wraps around the Community School campus.

The students are described in the press release as “stream keepers” for that portion of the waterway. They will be studying the impacts of seasonal water release from the upstream dam at Sun Valley Lake and learning and putting into practice monitoring techniques and data collection processes.

Runkel stated in the press release that the students will work with community organizations and professionals in the conservation and restoration fields as part of their studies.

“Students will learn the value of healthy streams and see the impacts that human development can have on water,” he stated. “In addition, we plan on creating a public site to display our data with the goal of moving the community to making changes, if changes are needed, to improve the health of the stream.”

Runkel noted that the last time Trail Creek was monitored in any depth was in 1993 in an Idaho Department of Environmental Quality study. Since then, conditions have changed with new golf course and lawn runoff, situational releases from Sun Valley Lake, possible sewage pollution and erosion.

“We look forward to doing some real science on this project,” he stated. “It is right in line with Community School’s environmental vision and goals.

Terry Smith:

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