Wednesdays with Jefferson High

High School students examining water samples from Compton Creek on a recent field trip

High School students examining water samples from Compton Creek on a recent field trip

I look forward to Wednesdays, and not because it’s hump day, but because every Wednesday I meet with a group of bright and curious college and high school students at Thomas Jefferson High School.

In the fall of last year Los Angeles Waterkeeper and UCLA Institute for the Environment and Sustainability were together awarded an U.S. EPA Urban Waters Small Grant to conduct neighborhood-scale assessments of industrial sources of pollution to Los Angeles surface waters (i.e. river, stream, bays). Since then a team, consisting of UCLA Professor Dr. Felicia Federico, five UCLA undergraduate students and myself have been researching the sources of pollution to Compton Creek with a focus on industrial activities and their compliance with water quality laws. Part of the project has also been to develop and implement a teaching curriculum for high school students with a focus on gaining a better understanding of local water quality issues, major sources of stormwater pollution in the watershed and helping them generate ideas for solutions. This is what brings me to Jefferson High School every Wednesday.

We’re currently in week five of our eighteen week afterschool course at Jefferson High School and so far it’s going swimmingly. The students have learned about watersheds, the water equation, hydromodification, the Clean Water Act, stormwater pollution and bioassessments. They’ve participated in some fun activities too, like delineating watersheds, a river hydraulics demonstration, pollution source scavenger hunt, and last week a trip to Compton Creek to learn about bioassessments and benthic macroinvertebrates.

Check LA Waterkeeper’s social media for more pictures and updates on the Compton Creek Project with UCLA and Jefferson High School.

-Lara Meeker, Watershed Programs Manager

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