In the fall of 2011 AWWA began the task of writing school curriculum that would combine AWWA’s watershed education with the Wakefield Paul School and Acton Elemenatry teacher’s schedule. Over the past two years we have been teaching 6th, 7th, and 8th graders about water quality, invasive species, macroinvertebrates, drinking water, and erosion control measures.
The goal of this curriculum is to teach students the importance of water quality and end their 8th grade year with a project that they designed. In 2012, the students at Acton Elementary chose a location near their baseball fields that was slowly eroding down slope to the river that runs through their campus. The students put together wonderful projects, via the teaching of Dave Cote, that outlined soil profiles, mapping, water quality, and potential BMPs across their campus. The most chosen location was behind the ballfields and all the groups chose infiltration steps as a way to fix the problem.
In the spring of 2012, the AWWA Program Manager and Crew Leaders installed a series of 17 infiltration steps to remediate this issue and improve access.
This year, the students unanimously chose the other side of the stream which is a primary walking path for parents to reach the ballfields. The site receives a tremendous volume of water from the parking lot that flows all the way down the path to the stream.
The students decided that a series of waterbars would work to divert the runoff from the path and into the vegetation around before reaching the river. We took their designs and performed the installation on May 30. The students joined us mid way through the project to go over all that they had learned and see how the features are installed.
The final product included 6 waterbars, 3 drywells, and some erosion control mulch to prevent runoff from entering the river.