Students in Mike Lemley's chemistry class at Buckhannon-Upshur High School were working hard over beakers and bottles Friday, helping the Buckhannon River Watershed Association monitor water quality around the area. Lemley tries to give students the chance to apply their lessons to the real world and said an opportunity like this is valuable to the students and the community.
"This is the real deal. This is real science, being used for real research in a real situation for the watershed association to actually bring to the public's eye so that we can see if we have problems or don't have problems or if we have good quality water," Lemley said.
His students take note as well. Julia Sanford was testing the water's acidity, and said she's looking forward to learning more about work like this.
"I actually always thought chemistry was my best strength in science, so actually I'm thinking about next year going into AP Chem," Sanford said.
Another school will take their work and put it all together. Students at West Virginia Wesleyan College will compile the data the students collect, and then share it. Professor Kim Bjorgo-Thorne said keeping the Buckhannon River healthy means a lot to human health as well.
"We're made out of water, so if our chemistry gets out of whack, we get sick. If the water chemistry in the native streams is out of whack, then the animals that live there get out of whack," Bjorgo-Thorne said.