The advanced water teams, established in 1998, are part of the Springfield School District’s WELL Project (Water and Learning Lab) and provide interested students with an opportunity to participate in real-world research and monitoring programs that focus on rivers and tributaries watersheds in our community. While our primary community partner is the McKenzie Watershed Council, the program is involved with many other agencies involved with water resources in our community. The program currently consists of four teams at Thurston High Schools and include a water chemistry team, an in-stream habitat/riparian assessment team, a restoration evaluation team and a well water testing team. The advanced water teams offer our partnering agencies a comprehensive program to evaluate the health of waterways throughout the watershed and a financial and technical partnership that we believe is unique to public schools in the United States.
The goals of the program are to:
- Develop and implement long-term watershed monitoring programs in collaboration with the Mckenzie Watershed Council and other local and state entities interested in protecting water resources in the community
- Develop and maintain a state-of -the-art water lab to support the program
- Produce high quality, reliable data using small teams of students who remained engaged with the program over most of their time at high school
- The ability to tailor our teams based on the needs of our partnering agencies
- Serve as an outreach tool to private stakeholders to engage them in watershed protection and restoration work
- Provide students with an in-depth understanding of the issues of responsible watershed management and teaching them real-world experience in conducting high quality field science