AmeriCorps SWAMP Recap: 4,410 Students Educated
by Leslie Revel and Angelica Howard, AmeriCorps SWAMP Members
For over 20 years, Mobile Baykeeper has been serving Mobile and Baldwin counties to protect the Mobile Bay Watershed and coastal communities by working for clean water, clean air, and healthy communities. One of the ways we do is through our Strategic Watershed Awareness and Monitoring Program (SWAMP)– an education action program that teaches students about watersheds, water quality, and trains them to become certified water quality monitors to protect the environment. In 2017-2018, Mobile Baykeeper’s SWAMP AmeriCorps Members have given over 100 presentations to more than 40 different schools and community groups, educating more than 4,000 citizens ranging from elementary students to adults. With the support of our grantors, we were able to implement SWAMP at four local high schools.
Below is some of the progress we made during our term:
Alma Bryant High School: Students are petitioning Bayou La Batre City Council to create solutions to clean up waterways, showcasing their collected data through PowerPoint Presentations.
Citronelle High School: Students are inspiring classmates to join an environmental club and host school recycling competitions to promote better waste removal practices.
Fairhope High School: Students are aiming to start “SWAMP Junior” to build relationships with feeder schools and educate younger students on the importance of protecting our waterways.
LeFlore High School: Students want to hold the community accountable by encouraging citizens to do their part to keep the environment clean. They will accomplish this by creating a public service announcement featuring SWAMP students, admin, and political figures.
Collectively, we educated 4,410 students at 28 schools and trained 163 water quality monitors since the start of their term last September. Every AmeriCorps State Program Member at Mobile Baykeeper has contributed to SWAMP in some capacity, always striving to improve our community and its natural resources. Patrol and Monitoring Members Diego Calderon-Arrieta and Ellie Mallon helped us train students and adults to become certified water quality monitors, while Karrie Quirin and Sarah Hogan recruited volunteers and taught SWAMP to students at tabling and volunteer events.
The results of the water quality monitoring provide valuable data to understand more about our local water resources and what threats may be facing them. Monitors follow the Alabama Water Watch program and upload data into the Water Rangers web tool where information on water quality trends is available to anyone.
Considering Mobile Baykeeper’s successes these last two decades, we know that this is only the beginning for SWAMP. We will keep working to ensure we can enjoy a healthy Mobile Bay Watershed and coastal communities for future generations. Please join us this upcoming year to expand our goals to protect and serve one community at a time.
We are very grateful to the support of our SWAMP Grantors who have helped make this program such a huge success, including NOAA B-WET . AM/NS Calvert EPA Environmental Education, FUSE Project, Gulf of Mexico Alliance, Wells Fargo Foundation, Hargrove Foundation, Mobile Bay National Estuary Program, M.W. Smith Jr. Foundation, and Captain Planet Foundation.
#getSWAMPed: Want to get involved? Learn more at mobilebaykeeper.org/swamp or email Education & Outreach Coordinator Ilka Porter at email@example.com.