The New York Geographic Alliance is pleased to announce that we are receiving a very generous grant from NOAA and the National Geographic Society as part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative. It is a two-year grant (2012-2014) with a goal of training teachers and informal educators in New York about watersheds and related topics.
The Susquehanna River has its headwaters mostly in New York's Southern Tier Region (Elmira, Corning, Hornell, Binghamton, Cortland, Oneonta, etc.). So, even though we are a couple hundred miles away from the Chesapeake Bay, New York is an important part of the system. When we train teachers about watersheds, we will include field work on testing stream quality. Prof. Stephen Vermette of Buffalo State College will be putting together "kid-friendly" kits that can be used in the field. Students from grades 4 and higher should be able to test for water clarity, dissolved oxygen, sediment load, nitrates and phosphates, as well as several other tests.
These results can be reported to FieldScope, a web software for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed created by National Geographic. Students and educators can view the data and compare it to tests in other places along the Susquehanna. Part of our mission is to get students out into streams, testing water quality, and reporting the data to FieldScope. Since the watershed "begins" in New York, they need our data. So far is very little online, but we aim to change that. It is important that students learn how they are connected to other places, a basic geographic concept. We will also do activities to model the watershed, and look at maps, new and old, to see how the region has changed over time.
At our workshops, we will be discussing issues pertaining to human geography. For example, most of the people living in New York's Southern Tier can be found near the Susquehanna River or one of its tributaries. Farmland is generally fertile in these valleys, but they are prone to flooding. In 1779, American troops led by Gen. Clinton and Sullivan followed the river to invade the heart of Iroquoia. Crops and villages were destroyed, and the Six Nations of the Haudenosaunee never recovered from this campaign. We hope that teachers will understand how the geography of this region impacted our history in the early days of this nation.
The first workshop for New York's Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative is scheduled for Saturday November 15th at Monroe Community College in Rochester, NY. It will run from 9 AM to 3 PM, and lunch will be provided. There is no registration fee. If you are interested, you can register online from the Upcoming Events section of this website. If you have any questions, contact Tim McDonnell, NYGA Coordinator. His phone number is (585)-292-2398. We will welcome participation from teachers and from informal educators who will use what they learn at the workshop in their classrooms. "