03/03/11 — WCPS grant to study Neuse

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WCPS grant to study Neuse

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on March 3, 2011 1:46 PM

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Larry Baldwin, Lower Neuse Riverkeeper, speaks to ninth-graders at Southern Wayne High School Tuesday about the effects of pollution on the river basin. The Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation, an environmental organization, is participating in the assemblies at schools around the county as part of a three-year $175,000 grant.

Ninth-grade science students in Wayne County Public Schools are learning about the Neuse River and will have the opportunity to work with aquatic scientists conducting research along the river, officials said.

The district has been awarded a three-year grant for $175,000 to participate in the N.C. Floating Classroom Project.

Earlier in the school year, Dr. JoAnn Burkholder, N.C. State University director of the Center for Applied Aquatic Ecology, with the assistance of Susan Randolph, a science teacher at Wayne School of Engineering, received the grant from the Burroughs-Wellcome Fund to educate students on the local river.

The project has three phases, which will take place over the course of each school year, said Ken Derksen, public information officer for the school system.

All ninth-grade students will hear a one-hour presentation on the Neuse River by Larry Baldwin, lower Neuse riverkeeper, and Dr. Burkholder. Up to 800 ninth-graders taking earth-environmental science will have an opportunity to travel to New Bern to conduct two hours of water science on a research vessel along areas of the Neuse River.

Finally, 15 students will be chosen to attend a one-week summer camp to study the river.

"Our district is excited to offer ninth-grade students this opportunity to move from classroom theory to real-world application of river research in the Neuse estuary," said Dr. Ralph Smith, WCPS director of science. "We are grateful to Dr. Burkholder for her willingness to partner with our schools to provide outstanding aquatic science experiences to our students.

"We also comment Mrs. Randolph for her role in working with Dr. Burkholder on this grant."