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  • Writer's pictureFriends of Poquessing

Local students discuss water-quality issues at meeting

Updated: Mar 2, 2018

Students from Stephen Decatur Elementary School are helping keep Poquessing Creek clean.

Pouring water into a large container filled with plants, which was “piped” to a second container, students discussed runoff and water quality issues as they sported water drop headbands. They explained that the plants in their watershed model represented the land in the Poquessing Watershed and the container receiving the piped flow of water represented the Poquessing Creek, which has been impaired by the rapid flow of stormwater runoff. The students expressed their understanding of the solution to this problem - replacing asphalt and mowed areas with plants that allow for natural water absorption and ground water recharge.

Water works: Stephen Decatur students suggested replacing asphalt and mowed areas with plants that allow for natural water absorption and ground water recharge at the recent meeting of Friends of Poquessing Watershed.

This effective demonstration was presented by students from the Stephen Decatur School at the January 2018 meeting of FOPW which was held at Glen Foerd on the Delaware. The students prepared their watershed model and accompanying poster during their Robotics Club meetings with their teacher Ms. Mary Jones. The club’s activities were generated by a water quality contest, which required them to identify a problem in the human water cycle, design a solution and make a presentation about the topic to a community group.

Invited to provide assistance, a FOPW volunteer initially visited the school to describe the Poquessing Watershed, elaborate upon water quality issues and brainstorm project ideas. During a second visit, the students were given a tour of “Torrey Woods,” part of Poquessing Park, located across the street from their school. At the park, they learned about leaf identification for common trees and observed the water quality of the creek with a checklist. This checklist, a student version of the Streamkeeper data sheet, gave the students an understanding of the ongoing volunteer work done by the Streamkeepers in the Poquessing and the other watersheds in the Philadelphia region as they look for pollutants and observe the health of the creek habitats.

As ”Junior Streamkeepers” for the day, one of the most pertinent issues observed was the severe erosion of the stream banks in their park. The students gained an understanding of the significance of open space preservation and ground water recharge as a method of repairing the issue of erosion and stream bed scouring. This scouring can wash away the creek dwelling insects that are an essential part of a stream’s food chain. In the spring, Ms. Jones and her students are planning to create a school yard garden which will demonstrate the value of restoring and preserving open space to protect the Poquessing Creek.

To deepen their understanding of drinking water quality, some of the students toured the Baxter Water Treatment Plant in Northeast Philadelphia, which supplies water to approximately 60% of the homes in our city. After learning about water quality issues, the students created a slogan: “What’s in your water?” We are proud to announce that the students won second place in the contest.

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