Sunday, December 2, 2018

Helping Middle Schoolers Make 'Liquid Connections'

Submitted Photos
Students in the Pottstown Middle School Environmental Education Club learn about water systems and aquaponics at the Montgomery County Community College campus in Pottstown as part of the "Liquid Connections" program.

Blogger's Note: The following was provided by the Foundation for Pottstown Education.

The Foundation for Pottstown Education is now helping to fund a community collaborative program designed to teach students in the Pottstown Middle School students about our local water environment.

The Foundation is funding the program in cooperation with Green Valleys Watershed and the Montgomery County Community College.

This program will provide students in the Pottstown Middle School Environmental Education Club an opportunity to learn about local waterways.

Program topics include adaptations and birds, water quality and orienteering. The group will also participate in field trips to various local sites for hands-on studies and hiking, including Warwick County Park, Green Valleys’ headquarters of Welkinweir, and Murgia Park in West Pottsgrove for pond and stream studies. 

They will tour the Pottstown Wastewater Treatment plant and canoe a portion of the Schuylkill River in Phoenixville. The group will work with the Montgomery County Community College taking part
Pottstown Middle School students are learning about
the ecology of water at MCCC and other locations.
in water quality studies at the Pottstown campus.

The program is titled Liquid Connections – How Water Quality Affects Biological Organisms. 

Through this seven week course the students will learn about how water quality is a measurement of the condition of water relative to the requirements of the biological species the water supports. 

The physical, chemical and biological characteristics of a body of water have a direct impact on the health of the organisms that rely on the water. In nature, pollution and agricultural run-off have major impacts on the water quality of lakes, streams and rivers. 

These pollutants also affect the biological species that the water sustains, often causing species to die off and ecosystems to collapse. Therefore, limiting pollutants and maintaining ideal water quality conditions is vital for the survival of the ecosystems that rely on the water. 

Likewise, in artificial systems, such as the hydroponic systems that are used to grow much of our commercial produce, maintaining proper water conditions is vital to sustained plant growth and yield.

In these sessions, students will learn how to measure various water quality conditions and then use these measurements to investigate how water quality affects the health of natural and artificial water systems.

Specific topics include:
  • Session 1: Introduction to Water Quality and Water Quality Measurement Techniques 
  • Session 2: Field Study on Water Quality of Schuylkill River and Manatawny Creek 
  • Session 3: Field Study Data Analysis 
  • Session 4: Automated Water Quality Sensor Introduction and Deployment 
  • Session 5: Introduction to Hydroponics and Aquaponics and Water Quality Measurements of  These Systems 
  • Session 6: Hydroponic and Aquaponic Systems Data Analysis and Water Quality Experiment Set-up 
  • Session 7: Water Quality Experiment Data Collection and Analysis 
From left, Pottstown Middle School science teacher
Ginger Angelo, Carl and Sylvia Landis, and
Dawn White, all from from Green Valley Watershed, along with
Dr. Karen Buchkovich-Sass, Dr. Jamie Bretz and Regina Kline
from  Montgomery County Community College.
Funding for this program is made possible by donations to the Foundation for Pottstown Education to the Foundation for Pottstown Education specifically for environmental studies.

Previously, the Foundation has provided funding to support the Middle School Environmental Club trip to the Pocono Environmental Education Center as well as programs in environmental after school programs for all four Elementary Schools in the Pottstown School District.

The Foundation is currently seeking additional funding to continue to support these programs.

Anyone interested in contributing to these funds is encouraged to contact the Foundation at 610-970-6616 or the Foundation’s Executive Director, Joe Rusiewicz via email

About FPE: The Foundation for Pottstown Education’s (FPE) mission is to support, promote, sponsor and carry out educational, scientific or charitable activities and objectives within or related to the Pottstown School District.

Visit for more information about the Foundation for Pottstown Education. You can also follow FPE on Facebook and Twitter.

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