4-H’ers learn to investigate water quality

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Members of the Louisiana 4-H Science, Engineering and Technology Board and the Wetland Ambassadors Team gathered at the winter leadership retreat to learn about GIS technology and water quality testing. The youth leaders were led through the activities with special assistance from Fran Harvey and her team at Global Geospatial Institute. Tensas Academy hosted the group for classroom activities.

GIS displays data that is georeferenced. That is, it can be found on a map. By taking different kinds of data, such as waterways, farms and water quality data and then putting them together, we can see potential interactions. For example, we can investigate whether proximity to farming affects water quality.

“GIS is a great tool for presenting and analyzing water quality data,” said Catherine Fox, Youth Wetlands Program extension associate. “It can make the data accessible to a wider audience through visualization. Also, water quality for multiple water bodies can easily be compared, and it can be helpful in assessing the relationship of infrastructure and the geography of the area to water quality.”

In the classroom, youth created their own maps using the industry standard ArcGIS software package. They also learned how to collect data using cellular devices and ArcGIS Collector. The youth leaders visited three different locations in the surrounding area to collect and compare water quality data. The 4-H’ers learned how to collect several water quality parameters, including temperature, dissolved oxygen, clarity, pH and nitrogen content. Collecting this data and displaying it using GIS software is a valuable skill that can be transferred to many careers.

3/10/2021 9:41:34 PM
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