Are We Running Out of Water?: Student Blog

December 2, 2017
This fall, seniors in the Environmental Science & Sustainability elective stepped outside the classroom to put their lab experience to the test. Students gain scientific inquiry skills in Gann’s Science Department, which combines theory with primary research, both in the lab and in the field
This interdisciplinary class explores the Earth’s systems and cycles, including energy, water, and climate. Students examine the interconnectedness of life and the influence of humans on our environment, exploring solutions to environmental issues facing the planet.

These seniors investigated how drought is affecting water supply and conservation. “Due to the widespread effect of the drought in Massachusetts, we felt that it was crucial for us to see its consequences first hand,” said student, David Clardy, ’17, of Lexington.

This environmental science class learned a lot about the status of the Massachusetts drought and water quality by visiting freshwater Beaver Brook, a stream close to Gann Academy, and collected samples from the Ipswich River. Students were taken aback by the extremely visible low levels of water from both sources.

Clardy described his class’ field study trip in a recent blog:

    “The class, made up of strong willed Jewish individuals, were poised to jump into the majestic water—Except there was no water. There was only ground (with a little water). It then became clear to us that the drought in Massachusetts had gotten to a truly outrageous point.

    Along with Beaver Brook, we also went to canoe on the Ipswich River. We discovered that the drought had caused the water level of the river to decrease significantly. Now people in the surrounding area must conserve water for their daily needs. The lack of water also means a diminished resource for animals and plants alike.

    At the start of our exploration, we learned that more than 50% of Massachusetts was classified as in “extreme drought.” As the winter season nears, we have had some additional rainfall and the percentage has dropped to 37%. However, more than 85% percent of Massachusetts is still in at least “severe drought.” This data is especially startling when compared to past years. Previously, none of Massachusetts had experienced a drought level above “abnormally dry.” — David Clardy, '17

Writing in a blog about this lab and field experience was the culminating assignment for this science class as part of project based learning. Students have also begun to identify ways to conserve water and are advocating for reducing humans’ hydro-footprint among their peers, urging others to be aware of the consequences of ignoring the drought.
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