Southeastern Section - 67th Annual Meeting - 2018

Paper No. 10-2
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


FRYAR, Alan E.1, FREEMAN, Rebecca L.1, HANLEY, Carol2 and SHERMAN, Amanda R.1, (1)Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506, (2)Environmental and Natural Resources Initiative, University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, 206 Dimock Building, Lexington, KY 40546-0076

Maintaining access to sufficient quantities of clean water for human and environmental needs, while minimizing water-related hazards, is challenging in both developing and developed countries. In India, access to water is complicated by seasonal and spatial variability in rainfall, intensive pumpage for irrigation, rapid urbanization, and pollution by sewage, industrial wastes, and geogenic solutes (e.g., arsenic and fluoride). In Kentucky, ongoing challenges include pollution from non-point sources (urban, agricultural, and mining-related) and degradation of aquatic habitats. To address these problems, education and community engagement are critical.

Through a grant from the U.S. Consulate in Kolkata, we are conducting a year-long project on water education with classes from ten high schools in three Indian states (West Bengal, Assam, and Jharkhand) and nine Kentucky high schools. The Indian schools are private, largely urban, and use English for instruction, whereas the Kentucky cohort includes urban, suburban, and rural public schools. The project consists of three modules organized via a project website ( Multiple-choice pre- and post-tests are used to assess student understanding of concepts and attitudes about water. Each module (Water on Our Planet, Problems with Water, and Humans and Water) includes a video with general information and specific examples from India and Kentucky; activities to interpret online data sets from each region; and wiki and summary projects. For the wiki projects, classes have developed PowerPoint presentations, posters, podcasts, videos, and websites on local water issues and water utilization, which were posted or linked to the project website. The summary projects build from a literature review of a local water-quality problem to a research proposal, data collection, and a final report with a video. One research proposal from each class will be reviewed by scientific professionals, with one school from each cohort being selected to travel to a scientific meeting in the other country. We expect that all the Kentucky classes will meet with the visiting team from India and vice versa. Our ultimate goal is to promote environmental and cross-cultural awareness among the participants and other visitors to the website.