Presentation students hop aboard STEM train

Published Feb. 21, 2014
Meagan Chapman, regulatory, presents to Presentation Academy ecology students.

Meagan Chapman, regulatory, presents to Presentation Academy ecology students.

Louisville District regulators are awarded for teaching classes at Presentation Academy in wetlands and stream-related ecology. (Rear) Left to right Leslie Estill, Patti Grace-Jarrett, Kimberly Simpson, Col. Luke Leonard; (Front) Left to right Jane Archer, Jennifer Thomason, Meagan Chapman.

Louisville District regulators are awarded for teaching classes at Presentation Academy in wetlands and stream-related ecology. (Rear) Left to right Leslie Estill, Patti Grace-Jarrett, Kimberly Simpson, Col. Luke Leonard; (Front) Left to right Jane Archer, Jennifer Thomason, Meagan Chapman.

Louisville District regulators shared their knowledge and expertise on wetlands and stream ecology with Louisville’s Presentation Academy junior and senior ecology students as part of the Corps’ STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) outreach program.

Rosemary Gilbertson, engineering division, initiated the curriculum of regulatory projects with the school. Jamie Beach, an ecology teacher at Presentation, coordinated with the Corps. Senior Regulatory Project Manager Patti Grace-Jarrett, Ph.D., took the reins working closely with her associates to develop class material on wetland ecology, wetland applied science, stream ecology and stream applied science. Regulators Jane Archer, Jennifer Thomason and Grace-Jarrett created and gave the two stream presentations. Kimberly Simpson, Meagan Chapman and Leslie Estill designed and presented the two wetlands classes.

For wetlands and streams, the first presentation was on fundamentals of ecology. The second presentation was on the use of the ecology in an applied setting. Presentations were hands-on.

The wetland team brought wetland soils and plants for students to see. The streams group brought preserved aquatic insects. For the applied streams presentation, jars of preserved aquatic macro invertebrates, mostly aquatic insects, were passed around so the students could see what the organisms looked like. For the applied wetland presentation, wetland soils were collected that morning and brought to class so the students could examine the color, texture and odor - all of which are important characteristics of wetland anoxic soils. A few wetland plants were also harvested; however, given the time of year, few were available. In that case, dried and labeled specimens were brought in so that students could get an idea of typical herbaceous wetland plants.

"It was very interesting that we had wetlands in our own backyard," said twelfth grader Marjorie Sheehan. "Before the Corps came I thought the wetlands only existed in the muck of Mississippi and the swamps of Savannah."

"One of the main goals of the Science Department here at Pres is to expose young women to various professions in STEM areas that they do not even know exist," said Science Department Chair Jamie Beach. "Finding good role models to share their real world experiences and knowledge from various areas of STEM is the very best way for students to discern what career path they might want to pursue."

Jim Townsend, regulatory branch chief, said, "My folks enjoyed the experience and the challenge of putting together presentations for a completely different audience than we normally interact with."

View the presentations produced by the Louisville District regulators:

What is a stream?
Applied Stream Science