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Seaford third graders learn about water quality with mobile science laboratory

Katie Peikes
Delaware Public Media
Will Koth teaches students about water quality.

Third graders in Seaford waded into watershed education Thursday with the Department of Natural Resource and Environmental Control’s mobile science trailer, learning about the importance of water in nature.


DNREC's Science At Your Door uses hands-on learning techniques to make sometimes complex and confusing topics like watersheds and water quality easier for students to understand.

Trap Pond State Park staff unpacked a trailer into three stations Thursday morning. Frederick Douglass Elementary students crowded around to learn about the importance of water quality - especially for fish.


“I think it’s very important that they learn at a young age how crucial it is to care for our water,” said Jennifer Covington, one of several third grade teachers who brought their students to the program.


Third grader Isaac Barkat’s main takeaway Thursday?


“I “I learned that pollution can cause a lot of things in the world,” Barkat said, referring to the damage it can do to Earth.


Third grader Savannah Hartman had a similar takeaway.


“Water is really powerful,” Hartman said. 


Students learned that acidic water can erode rock, meaning it can break it down into fragments or sculpt rock formations over millions of years.


“Water can do many things and it can damage things,” third grader Brianna Walker said.


Monika Massado said she learned water travels from the Nanticoke River to the Chesapeake Bay.


For Frederick Douglass students, that was a key takeaway because the Nanticoke River borders their school. William Koth, the interpretative programs manager for Trap Pond State Park, said the river’s proximity to the school is helpful in getting students to envision things like water quality and erosion.


Koth said the group at Frederick Douglas Elementary is the second school group they’ve worked with since the trailer’s October launch. The program is funded in part by the EPA, to get more students outside of the classroom to learn about nearby watersheds.


“Water, I mean, it’s the key compound of life, so it’s important that kids understand that and it’s important that water carries pollution but it can also carry life,” Koth said.


Though Science At Your Door is designed for Chesapeake area schools, Koth said DNREC wants to expand the program to teach students in Kent and New Castle County.

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