Paper No. 27
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


MURRAY, Kent S., Natural Sciences, University of Michigan-Dearborn, 4901 Evergreen Rd, Dearborn, MI 48128 and NAPIERALSKI, Jacob, University of Michigan-Dearborn, Department of Natural Sciences, 4901 Evergreen Rd, Dearborn, MI 48124,

The Geosciences Institute for Research and Education at the University of Michigan-Dearborn has been an example of a successful and effective model in increasing the participation of underrepresented groups in the geosciences. The program, in its seventh and final year, emphasizes involving at-risk high school students along with their teachers from the Detroit area public schools in geoscience research projects that focus on community based environmental issues. These projects in 2012 included an investigation of the sources of lead impacting a residential neighborhood in southwest Detroit. The Delray and Oakwood Heights communities have the highest rate of blood lead levels in the state of Michigan, yet the specific sources of the lead contamination are unknown. The participants were also involved in a project that focused on understanding the relationships between groundwater and surface water quality along the lower branch of the Rouge River in southeast Michigan. The Rouge River, a tributary to the Detroit River is one of the most polluted streams in North America and understanding the sources of pollution is important to the environmental health of the lower Great Lakes. The 2012 summer workshop included 12 middle school and high school teachers and six high school students. As in the past, the participants overwhelmingly concluded that solving today’s environmental problems requires increased environmental awareness, and that hands-on workshops serve to expand their knowledge of the environment. They identified the need for similar programs in the schools that would better facilitate environmental practices among citizens. One student noted that, “Everything affects everything. I mean what I do affects all of you and I do not think a lot of people know that. We all need to get together and find a solution. In the Delray area we took soil samples from every house so we have the results and we could have a big meeting about it so that people know what is up with the soil.”