Getting educated on the environment

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Each month, Rhode Island Monthly magazine features topics, places, food, and locations all around the Ocean State. Their February issue is no different and features an article that focuses on the impact storms have had on the environment.

Floods, hurricanes, and snowstorms have wreaked havoc in Rhode Island, and it’s important to be educated on how we can protect our land.

Students at Scituate High School are learning about the Scituate Reservoir with the help of a great partnership. Providence Water and the Northern RI Conservation District do their best to educate folks of all ages.

“They learn when they protect their watershed they’re first protecting their own drinking water well, and that it’s having a secondary effect on the entire state of Rhode Island,” said Gina DeMarco, District Manager at Northern RI Conservation District.

It takes many hands to conserve the 93 square miles that make up the Scituate Reservoir watershed.

“We think of this as the first step in the treatment process and it saves money because it prevents providence water from having to invest money in additional expensive treatment facilities,” said Christopher Riely, Forest Supervisor at Providence Water.

They protect the water supply by managing the forest and land around it.

“The city owns about 12 and a half thousand acres of forest land and we want to have a resilient forest that’s resilient to water quality,” Riely added.

Partnerships have formed over the years to spread the word and educate folks of all ages.

“When we designed our program we had a message in mind,” DeMarco said. “We wanted people to understand what water shed is and how actions that everyday people take on their property and in their community can impact water quality.”

Programs begin in the third grade by bringing a model into the classroom. They next visit in middle school to help the teachers with their lesson plans, and again in high school.

“It’s a great way to connect kids with nature and get kids outdoors and use that as a teaching tool,” said Scituate High School science teacher Shannon Donovan. “There’s so much that can be learned by that and we’ve got some projects in the works, some further collaboration that might allow us to bring some other students out to the forest.”

Students are visited by the experts at the Northern RI Conservation District and Providence Water. This opportunity is one Shannon believes all should experience.

“There was not a program like this when I was going to school, but I think this is something that all students should have the opportunity to experience” Donovan said.

The February issue of Rhode Island Monthly contains articles on storm damage, a unique learning facility, and BYOB restaurants in the state. Copies of the magazine are available now.

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