If the next generation of young people is going to care for our environment properly as they grow older, then they need to learn more about local waters and how to protect them, and that is one area where Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG) hopes to make a difference. As part of our education and outreach efforts, Jay Beugly, an aquatic ecologist with IISG and the Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, works with local schools to teach students about everything from water quality and macroinvertebrates to fish and other aquatic wildlife populations.
In this new video, Mary Cutler, a naturalist and environmental educator with Tippecanoe County Parks and Recreation, talks about working with Beugly to teach learners of all ages about the health of the Wabash River. In August, fifth-graders from Battle Ground Intermediate School participated in the Battle Ground River WRATS (Wabash Rafting with Adventurous Tomahawk Scientists) program. The students took a rafting trip from Mascouten Park to Fort Ouiatenon, learning about the history, geography, wildlife and water quality of the Wabash River along the way. Cutler, Beugly and other scientists completed fun, educational activities with the students to finish their rafting day.
“We’re so fortunate over the years to have partnered with Sea Grant, and specifically with Jay Beugly, to extend some of the environmental outreach that connects to tributaries, larger waterways and the fishery populations in our community,” Cutler said. “Through the expertise of Jay and some of his other colleagues, they’ve brought information about how the river health is reflected in the populations of the macroinvertebrates and the fishes that we find in those small tributaries and the larger waterways.”
If you would like to connect with IISG about educational opportunities for K-12 students, please contact Education Coordinator Terri Hallesy.
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant is a part of University of Illinois Extension and Purdue Extension.
Our summer internship program has wrapped up for another year. This summer, seven students and recent graduates worked with our specialists on broad range of issues, including AIS prevention, sediment remediation, and water supply planning. Brittany Sievers spent her internship working with Kara Salazar, IISG’s sustainable communities specialist. She had this to say about her summer experiences:
“Since my internship covered many programs, I worked on different projects every day, which kept me busy and engaged. Some of my favorite projects were those that gave me an opportunity to develop my professional writing skills and become a published author. I wrote several curriculum pieces for the Enhancing Public Spaces program and pieces that will appear on the program’s website once it is complete. I expanded the Green Meetings and Events Planning Guide that a previous intern created by adding ‘cheat sheets’ for large events and professional meetings that summarized the information provided within the publication. Finally, I wrote scripts for two rainscaping training videos—plant selection and rain garden design.
I was also able to get out of the office and work directly with the public and other key stakeholders on several occasions. I was at the Wabash Riverfest with a trivia game geared towards children that I developed. I also assisted Kara during pilot testing of the Tipping Points and Indicators tool in Hobart, IN and with a presentation of the program during the 2014 Institute for Sustainable Development in Nashville, IN.
Since I plan to work in an outreach position in the future, this internship was perfect for me. I had not had work experience in outreach before, but I have enjoyed being active in several outreach clubs at Purdue to facilitate positive change on the Purdue University campus and the surrounding community. I know my experiences this summer will help my chances of landing a job and excelling in that position in the future.”
With her undergraduate work in natural resources and environmental sciences complete, Brittany is turning her sights to graduate school. In fact, she began work on a Master’s in marine conservation and policy earlier this week at Stony Brook University in New York.