Last month, the 3rd and 4th and fourth graders at Georgia Elementary Middle School partnered with St. Albans Museum, Friends of Northern Lake Champlain, and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets in Lake Lessons, a new STEAM-cultural heritage program.
These students were bused to St. Albans Bay Park and Georgia Beach to learn more about the maritime heritage of the Bay, once known as “Port Washington”, including the world-famous “Gleaner of St. Albans” sailing canal boat, and more, featuring the economic, recreational and military history of Lake Champlain.
Through different stations, students explored opportunities to create original works with photography, drawing/coloring, or writing prompts to share their own thoughts and ideas about Lake Champlain. They also had an opportunity to engage with a rainfall simulator to examine four types of surface (bare earth, lawn, edged habitat, field, and forest) and the concept of runoff and infiltration as well as scientific method and development of a hypothesis.
A hands-on tabletop model helped students understand how polluted runoff impairs lakes and rivers. Topics covered included point and nonpoint pollution sources (urban, industrial, forested, and agricultural), toxic substances, phosphorus, pollution prevention, and watershed management.
The agricultural water quality station provided students with an understanding around limiting factors on a farm. Students learned about different aspects and parts of a farm and why they are all important to the farm system, such as nutrient, waste storage, water, and more.
Students were then asked to evaluate and comment upon their learning experience to help their partners improve and enhance this pilot program for future offerings.
Students are more aware of their responsibilities in keeping our lakes healthy and how their choices impact the watershed. If we all work together we can appreciate and enjoy the vast and beautiful waters of Lake Champlain.