by Guest Contributor, Tammy Trantham
Education Outreach Director
Table Rock Lake Water Quality
Editor’s note: Ozarks Water Watch, as part of its outreach efforts, awards a limited number of grants each year to other nonprofit organizations in support of their worthwhile water quality related projects. We are excited to help sponsor the Green Leadership Academy for Diverse Ecosystems in 2012.
On June 21, I was able to visit and teach at GLADE which stands for Green Leadership Academy for Diverse Ecosystems. GLADE is a week-long experience for 16 high school students where they are immersed in Ozarks nature. They learn so many different aspects of the Ozarks ecosystems all week. Activities range from bird banding, reptile handling, stream ecology, to leadership activities. The best part of this project is that each student receives $500 after the week to go back to their community and make a difference.
I first was introduced to GLADE in 2009 when I was the female resident counselor. I was finishing my graduate studies and spending an entire week at the Bull Shoals Field Station was really nice. During the week of activities it was an amazing process to see these high school students who did not know each other develop friendships and take on leadership roles. I was invited back this year to teach about lake ecology and team-teach stream ecology on “Water Day”.
The high school students were a fabulous group. They were so eager to learn about all of the life in lakes and streams. We discussed many different topics including what happens to lakes when they get too much nutrients. We collected lake sediment to see what was living in the bottom of the lake. We collected water samples from near the surface and then deeper, closer to the thermocline to examine any chemical differences. Discussions included what kind of life can live throughout the water column and the natural mixing of the lake. Other discussions included how development impacts our watersheds and what best management practices we can use to help prevent pollution to our water resources.
I have to congratulate the GLADE team for organizing such a fantastic experience for these students. The Ozarks provides such a diverse learning experience, and this is such a great way to teach students about the opportunities in the world around them. I am a full believer in teaching all ages in the great outdoors to make that connection to the natural world. I can safely say that these 16 high school students will never look at nature the same way.
Ozarks Water Watch was a key sponsor in this event and I want to thank them for their support. We need more opportunities for students to explore possibilities in the outdoors. This is the best way to ensure that the next generation is there to protect our natural resources. GLADE occurs every summer and they are always looking for support. Check out GLADE’s Facebook website for more information.
There are more pictures on the TRLWQ Facebook Page.