Clean Water Camp 2014 Video

We just don’t work in the Caribbean – Clean Water is a bit of a problem everywhere. Check out this video for the work done on South Chickamauga Creek.

 

The Clean water camp is one of the things we do locally in Tennessee/Georgia.

Clean Seas for a Healthy Sustainable Future

Ever wonder what we do?

 

Giving Tuesday

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Today is Giving Tuesday. Please consider the Caribbean SEA and TenneSEA Kids 4 Clean Water in your charitable giving plans.

During the busy holiday season, please consider helping Caribbean and TenneSEA provide programs for Students and Communities to better protect and restore our precious water.  From rain gardens at schools in Tennessee  to constructed wetlands and latrines in under developed countries, our kids are leading the way to better water (and learning Science and Engineering at the same time)!

There are 3 ways you can help!

  • Donate using the button to the right!
  • Sign up for Amazon Smile and designate the Caribbean Student Environmental Alliance as your favorite charity. Amazon will now donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the Caribbean Student Environmental Alliance when you shop at AmazonSmile.
  • Volunteer!  We can use volunteers for event, student projects, restoration projects and in the Gear Closet!

What’s happening to the Bay in St Lucia?

As most ecologists know, observing the same location over time tells you a story about what is going on with the health of the ecosystem. We have a small ecosystem in trouble….a favorite little bay in St. Lucia where Katie (and Nina and Sam, Kievan, Karim, and Selena and sometimes even Keiwa) likes to jump off of the high rocks. The reef was so beautiful when I first saw it many years ago. It still has a diverse array of coral species, but at least half of the bay now has mostly dead coral. The fish population was equally diverse, but now very few fish call the bay home. And what happened to all the sea urchins? They are such important grazers of the reef and none were there this week. It is likely that the Christmas Eve storm that devastated St. Lucia dislodged and killed the sea urchins. The sediment from the torrential rains from Hurricane Tomas in 2010 and again on Christmas Eve have seriously damaged the corals. Green algae is growing more abundantly, likely aided by nutrient enrichment. We have been challenged to try to reverse this process. Even as we can see that the corals of the outer bay seem to be healthier than just after Tomas, others are bleached and dyingtu volland feb 2014 from above

tu volland feb 2014 close up rocks

tu volland feb 2014 kayakers

tu volland green rocks morning. Do you think we can do it? I think it will take a concerted effort, particularly from those who live in this watershed or visit the bay, but I DO think it’s possible. Who wants to help?

New Desalinization Technique Cleans and Disinfects

While out digging around on the internet I ran across this article.

If you’ve ever been to an island, water is probably one of the biggest problems they can have… Especially Clean Water. It’s a problem in the states as well. Many times in the Caribbean it comes down to two ideas for water – desalinization or cisterns. Desalinization isn’t cheap – and it can be a slow process – that’s what makes this article noteworthy.

Not to re-explain the entire article, scientists have been looking at electodialysis for desalinization. except that doesn’t clean all the bad parts out.

“Now Deng and co say they have found a way to produce clean drinking water in a single step using electrodialysis. The key is to place a layer of porous material close to the cathode which then acts as a filter and removes anything that cannot pass through the micropores.

The porous material in question is fitted glass, which is made by sintering together glass particles to form a porous solid. The pore size is around 0.5 micrometres so anything larger than that, such as dirt particles, cannot pass.”

Here’s hoping they get it down in cost and size. It does require electricity – so maybe there can be a whole solar component to this.

Thanks for a wonderful evening at Save Water, Drink Wine! See you next year!

Bob Paulson, wine pourer extraordinaire!

Bob Paulson, wine pourer extraordinaire!

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Kids, Storm Water, and a Playground

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We all want to teach kids about clean water…..So what if you put them in charge of actually cleaning it. After investigating the ditches and runoff coming onto their playground, students from Thrasher Elementary School began trying to figure out what they could do to slow that water down and clean it up.  they worked with Stantec engineer, Paul Thomas, teacher Heidi Mies, and Mary Beth to devise ideas, from crazy to amazing….to take care of that stormwater and actually create an interesting habitat on their playground.  the students drew out ideas that included a rock filter, a pond complete with a pressure sensitive gate to keep water in when needed, a meditation rock, a meandering stream with a waterfall and then lots of space for pretty plants and salamanders and frogs and turtles.  After presenting their ideas to their principal, Regina Brock, the students proceeded to vote on the ideas they would most like to be included in their stormwater system.  Now the engineer and PTA have their work cut out for them!  They have to devise a plan, using the student ideas, that the students will approve!  

Even Head of The Hooch regatta wants clean water!

I have to brag on the Chattanooga Junior Rowers crew…..Katie and Lizze nearly fell in a very cold Tennessee River trying to get the litter out that had blown in from the regatta site.  Just think if our river was covered in trash….would the Head of the Hooch want to hold its regatta in Chattanooga?  Would the long distance swimmers Swim the Suck and keep swimming for 10 miles down the river?  We have issues with our river…from sewage to medications, but it still keeps flowing. Chattanooga has such spectacular outdoor resources….let’s make sure the water is respected, too.

SEA Creatures Activit(ies) 2: Coral Reefs

I will admit, I haven’t been so good about posting the SEA Creatures lesson plans as I’d wanted, so I’ll try and catch up over the next couple of days. But the good news is that the program is going very well so far! Pictures are updated on our Facebook page, and I am working on having a gallery on the main SEA Creatures page. 

Coral reefs near Marigot Bay in Saint Lucia

Coral Reefs

About Corals
Since Saint Lucia is surrounded by coral reefs, and these very reefs are endangered due to climate change, water pollution and coral diseases (amongst other things), I wanted to teach the kids about them. Many of the kids don’t know how to swim, and so they haven’t seen a reef before. Even those that had seen them didn’t know exactly what a coral was?

Corals may look like a rock or plant, but they are actually animals! And each structure you see isn’t just one coral, but is a colony.  They can’t move around (They are sessile organisms) but because of a special relationship with a type of algae plant called zooxanthellae, they can still eat! The zooxanthellae live inside the coral reef, and like all plants, they get their energy from the sun.  The zooxanthellae give some of the energy to the coral, and the coral, in turn, provide a safe place for the algae to live.  Because the two organisms are helping each other, we call this a mutualistic relationship.

The algae alone isn’t enough to keep it alive.  At night, the corals open up their rocky faces to reveal tentacles that can sting like a jellyfish.  The coral can use these tentacles to stun and bring their food to their mouths (which is also their butt, hehehe). They can also use their tentacles to fight, as you can see in this video.
Coral Reef [Hunting & Fighting]

 

 

Activities: 

We did several activities across the different schools.  One was to watch the “Magic School Bus: Takes a Dive” episode, which the kids loved.  The episode takes them underwater and teaches them about mutualistic relationships, which was the theme of our lesson.
After the movie, we went outside to do 3-legged races, which represent how 2 organisms have to work together to survive!

Mutualistic Racing

 

At schools without access to a television, we focused on how a coral feeds and how the algae provides color and energy to the coral polyps.

Materials needed:
White Latex Gloves (one for each kid)
Sharpies
Treat of some sort (we used cheeto snacks)

1) Allow each kid to have one glove and a sharpie. (We used Sharpies because I had them              and they don’t run as much as a washable marker on a glove – paint might work too?)

2) Explain to the children that their hands are coral polyps and when it is white, it means that there is no algae inside. Without the algae (zooxanthellae) they will starve, so they have to color their gloves.

Kids coloring their gloves

3) Once everyone colors their gloves, instruct all the children to put their heads down on the desk and close their eyes… corals are blind you know!

4) Now, call out to the children that it is the daytime and the sun is out, so a coral will keep it’s tentacles in (so they should make a fist with their hands).  Wait a bit, then say that it is getting dark, darker… until it’s nighttime! At night the corals open and wiggle their tentacles around to find food that is floating by.  So, in our game, walk around and put little treats in the kids’ hands as they wiggle their fingers. Switch between day and night time, making sure the kids do the appropriate action with their hands.  Keep going until everyone gets a nice little snack, or you run out of food.

Corals catch whatever floats by in the night.