What is R4S?
3RQ REACH 4Schools (R4S) is an educational framework that engages students from grades 6 through university level in monitoring water quality within the Allegheny, Monongahela, and upper Ohio River Basins.
Middle and high school students who participate in the project become involved by collecting data, either continuous by deploying data loggers and/or discrete by obtaining physical samples for chemical analysis.
Educators can use the data collected to teach their students in many ways and on many topics, such as general water quality, water chemistry, and chemistry as it relates to biology, aquatic biology, water sampling, environmental principles, ecology, data analysis, data entry, and database management.
R4S is funded through an Environmental Education Grant from PADEP and the STREAMing contest is funded through a grant from EQT.
The Contest, called STREAMing (Science, Technology, Rivers, Engineering, Arts, Math), tasks the students with creating a website to showcase the water quality monitoring projects they have worked on in coordination with Three Rivers Quest. In addition to the websites, the students are required to create a video giving a reflection on what they learned or found interesting throughout the duration of these projects. The website and video will be scored by numerous judges from EQT and the West Virginia Water Research Institute. The videos of their experiences will be transcribed and used to create a book, titled STREAMside, that students can disseminate to their communities, thereby expanding water quality awareness and engaging people who might not otherwise think of water in those terms. This book will be available to view in August on our 3RQ website.
All schools are given a weather station, and all students receive a T-Shirt for participating. The winning school also will receive a gift certificate for Stormworks. Additionally, participating schools will keep the equipment and field kits provided to them and will retain access to the WATERS database for as long as they would like. 3RQ will also continue to provide the schools with technical assistance as needed in all aspects of water quality monitoring and information dissemination.
All websites were viewed and scored by various judges and points assigned. Two winners were chosen, an individual website and an overall winner.
- Individual Winner
- WM Environmental Club from West Mifflin High School.
- Headed by Ms. Christine O’Lare
- Overall Winner
- Trinity Area High School
- Overseen by Ms. Melissa Monteleone.
Participating R4S Schools
About Three Rivers Quest
The West Virginia Water Research Institute (WVWRI), a program of the National Research Center for Coal and Energy at West Virginia University, has been actively researching water-related issues since 1967. When municipal water authorities were puzzled by the sudden increase of total dissolved solids (TDS) in late 2008, it was in the interest of WVWRI to find out what might be causing the changes in the water chemistry of the Monongahela River. While numerous programs existed that monitored water quality, the data collected was either too sporadic or the studies did not include TDS. In response to the need for TDS data, routine monitoring on the main stem of the Monongahela and mouths of major tributaries began in 2009 with funding through USGS and WVWRI. In 2011, thanks to funding by the Colcom Foundation, the Three Rivers QUEST (3RQ) program was initiated by partnering with Duquesne University, Wheeling Jesuit University and the Iron Furnace Chapter of Trout Unlimited. Geographically, the 3RQ Partners monitor mainstem and mouths of major tributaries along the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio Rivers. In addition to routine monitoring monthly at 54 stations, 3RQ Partners have utilized Targeted Study funds to investigate community water quality concerns over such things as radiological in mine discharge and total trihalomethane in schools. The REACH a component of the program engages local watershed groups with data management and roundtable events. The newly upgraded WATERS database provides data management for participating in watershed organizations.
Charleroi High school
West Mifflin High School
REACH 4Schools Resource Guide
A Special Thanks To…
|The staff at 3RQ would like to thank the teachers and students involved with the REACH 4Schools program. It was through the effort of the teachers and students that so many samples were collected and analyzed with so many hypotheses generated. The success of the program was directly related to those teachers and students who spent so much of their time at their sites and who provided invaluable information to the overall 3RQ project.|
We would also like to thank PACE laboratories for providing the students with an instructional presentation on “what happens when the samples arrive at the labs”.
We also would like to thank EQT who provided us with the funds for the Weebly STREAMing contest; this competition would not have been possible without your generosity!
The R4S Team
West Virginia Water Research Institute
REACH 4Schools Coordinator/Resource
REACH 4Schools Resource
WVU Student Worker
Majoring in: Environmental and Natural Resource
WVU Student Worker
Majoring in:Industrial Engineering
WVU Student Worker
Majoring in: Human Nutrition and Foods