Environmental club to study Bearden’s impact on local watershed

Allie Gruszkiewicz, News Editor

Environmental science tends to tackle big issues: climate change, global deforestation, and world-wide species endangerment, to name a few. For Bearden’s environmental club, however, the newest project is much closer to campus.

The environmental club is working with Adopt-A-Watershed, a program run by Americorps, in a project that will investigate pollution from Bearden that is going into the storm drains and eventually entering streams.

“A lot of issues aren’t right here at home, but this is right exactly here in Bearden High School,” environmental club president Mallari Starrett said. “We’re able to make this small difference, and you start seeing how big of an impact it makes when you start adding up all of your data.”

The project was initiated by former Bearden teacher Ms. Helen Morrow last spring semester for her ecology class. In order to give Adapt-A-Watershed a year’s worth of research, the environmental club will continue the project until January.

The project involves placing nets in several storm drains in the parking lots and along roads on campus. The nets will be checked periodically so that the environmental club can determine how much debris is entering the waterways and what type of debris it is.

Mostly, they expect natural debris like leaves but also litter from around the school. In addition to observing the debris, they will also try to find the sources of pollution.

“You don’t really realize how difficult it is to pinpoint pollution until you have to start focusing on it and gathering data,” Starrett said.

Environmental Science teacher Mrs. Tonya Henke said that water from the storm drains normally enters the waterways without treatment or filtration. The environmental club will attempt to remove some of this debris as they carry out their research.

“This is the water we depend on, and we need to know what’s getting washed into it,” Mrs. Henke said. “It could be once we realize what’s going down those drains, people might be more aware that just because it’s out of sight doesn’t mean it’s not going to come back to them.”

So far, the environmental club has not yet checked the nets to study the debris. Mrs. Henke said that she hopes for her class not only to learn about the debris but also to be able to make a change.

“To me, that’s what’s important: to know what our impact is, and how to change our actions to make things better,” Mrs. Henke said.