2010 Enviro Summer Institute

Monday - Reflections and Images

This morning we set up a groundwater experiment with a tub and rocks --add water not above the rocks---make a lake ---using the filter paper and the top from the squirt bottle make a well --squeeze water you have gotten from the groundwater area ----now add pollution (red food coloring) ---allow a few minutes for it to get into groundwater ---go back to the well and squirt water again --note the filter turns red as groundwater pollution gets to the area of the well
Also we set up the wiki page this morning
We viewed some pictures of topography of local areas with wells
Afternoon was spent on a scavenger hunt --a very long one without adequate shoes!! Sore feet! I think I understand the purpose but not sure it was necessary to do that much hiking to get to it! Good thing it was a nice day and ND has a gorgeous campus:)
Tuesday - Reflections and Images Today we tested water - unknowns and our own wells. It was an interesting comparison between the strips and Vernier probes --some just didn't make a close match --we were thinking about whether or not we should recalibrate each time we used a probe.....food for thought. Also the questions came up about how many cameras we will need since they are not allowed in our school...how will we upload the photos AND how do we explain to the kids the results which do not match....more food for thought
Tours were nice - new engineering bldg is quite the place!!
We need more info from our leaders about the quandry we found in the results and what to do...help!!

Wednesday - Reflections and Images
OK -- so I can't load pics in the right place!!! I will try to fix that!! I think we addressed the problems with the classrooms and I do not see problems we cannot solve - may be interesting to do but I think we can get data into Carrie's files this year. I appreciate how flexible you have been with helping those of us with problems and I think you may be amazed with the data we collect!! Even with some whining.....
Today was my favorite day so far --why?? well, the tours were of interest to me and I actually knew what they were about...I know that sounds silly but I enjoyed the great conversation from the grad students and the prof who is doing the salt marsh study --right up my North Carolina alley!! Loved that info and would totally do a few weeks of work with that group! Thanks for those tours!

Thursday - Reflections and Images
Today we had presentations on Place-Based Education with Jessica and other presenters who explained some opportunities within the community.
Since this is my topic for symposium, my thoughts on this are included below:)

Friday - Reflections and Images
I loved the landfill study!! I did that project the year I taught 5th grade but we didn't use clay and I like that feature! I also enjoyed seeing the results of plating the lake/river water and the results after adding the tabletwith iodine.
Enjoyed the presentations -- one thing I noticed was that some people didn't exactly comment on how they would use the project with their class - does that mean they won't use it?? Shouldn't we have teachers who are actually interested in the topic in the workshops? Seems like a spot or two were taken that could have been better utilized...

Symposium Presentation
Place- Based Education
Last year I attended the Hoosier Environmental Council workshop on Place-Based Education and learned about environmental education in an outdoor setting --along with that was an incentive from HEC to use money on a project in our schools. Taking 7th grade students outside at my school was interesting and it generated more project ideas that I had thought about..... but being outside to work on science was a new area for them and they responded positively. It showed me that taking students outside for science is an important part of learning for them and it could lead to study of ecosystems within the school grounds. The transitition this year was very helpful because it added people who had projects in play or available that utilized that outdoor classroom presentation. Jessica was very helpful in introducing SEEDS and the significance it had with inner city kids to introduce them to STEM ideas. I also liked her introduction to teaching Enviro without using "disaster" as the main topic but use more familiar territory close to home in order to promote engagement and interest. Book - "Lost Child in the Woods" is an excellent link for teachers also. John spoke about Hoosier Environmental Council and he was in my workshop lest year , only he actually got a wonderful project underway. Patrick from the Lamberti lab explained some restoration projects currently underway with Juday Creek and Bowman Creek. These impaired streams flow into the St Joseph River and carry contamination along. Their study of the water and the fish was interesting since there has been lots of change in these two waterways which impact the South Bend area. I think this would be an interesting subject for students of all ages because it it close to home----or underneath it. Charlotte Wolfe , owner of Prairie Winds Nature Farm, spoke about the experience of taking students out to a working farm to see how everything interracts. This is most useful for small groups of students because of the logistics of moving through the various areas of the farm. As this is a topic I am passionate about -- I asked the group if I could speak on it. I have had throughout most of my teaching experience - at least one unit in outdoor classroom experience. I think it is necessary to get kids outside and to look up at the sky, down at the ground and notice their surroundings, plants, animals, insects....etc. I also think middle school school students need to experience the careers which we have seen --labs, grad students, professors who are all interested in environmental issues. The wellhead protection project is very interesting and an issue that students need to be aware of --even if they do not get their water from a well. The creek restoration is another project that students of this age should be aware of --it impacts their lives at some point. I love to see science shown in nature and outdoors for kids to learn. I hope we can have more of the environmental awareness study for teachers as well as students in the future.


LaSalle Intermediate Academy

Grade Levels


No. of Students




Links to Well Reports




Teacher Comments/Reflections


ENVIRO Educator Comments/Reflections


Parental Feedback


Colleagues Participating in ENVIRO

At Our School

Beth Albright
Madeleine Martinez

At Other Schools

Emily Zabloki Alicia Harkins-Pritchett