Grants will fund water quality research and STEM education

Apr 22, 2015

Thomas More's Biology Field Station "is a one-of-a-kind center for applied biological research whose reach is as wide and powerful as the Ohio River and all its tributaries."
Credit Thomas More College

The Duke Energy Foundation is handing out grants totaling $500,000 to fund water quality research and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education at the University of Cincinnati and Thomas More College.

Each school is getting $250,000.

UC plans to use the money to complete a groundwater quality monitoring station and create a summer environmental research training program for K-12 science teachers.

[WVXU reported on the monitoring plan in our series Liquid Assets. Read more here.]

L-R: Duke Energy Foundation President Stick Williams, Thomas More College President David Armstrong, UC Provost Beverly Davenport, and President of Duke Energy Ohio and Kentucky Jim Henning.
Credit Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Thomas More will use part of the grant to boost its fish and water quality research programs at its biology field station in Campbell County, Ky. The other part will be used to expand its STEM partnerships with teachers and students across the region.

In a statement, Jim Henning, president of Duke Energy Ohio & Kentucky, says, "The University of Cincinnati and Thomas More College have created inventive frameworks for programs that will positively impact our environment and the development of the future STEM workforce. Education and sustainability are the keys to success, and we believe both schools’ plans for expanding their water research programs will have positive, lasting impacts on our region.”

More specifics - Thomas More College

The Biology Field Station was established in 1967 and is the only station of its kind along the 981-mile river. The facility is home to the Center for Ohio River Research and Education (CORRE), which offers students of all ages, faculty and other visitors opportunities to expand their knowledge of the natural world through field courses, research projects and outreach programs that focus on the ecology of the Ohio River and surrounding watershed.

The Duke Energy Foundation grant will allow the college to expand the field station’s aquatic biology and environmental science research by increasing the number of summer internships for undergraduate students. In addition, the CORRE will expand its collaborations with local high schools through the Thomas More STEM Initiatives (TSI). The outreach program comprises teacher workshops, student camps, classroom visits, field trips and more.

More specifics - University of Cincinnati

The University of Cincinnati will use its $250,000 grant to complete the Great Miami Ground-Water Observatory (GMGWO) in the Hamilton Country (Ohio) Park District’s Miami Whitewater Forest – just northwest of Cincinnati.

 The observatory will allow researchers to more effectively monitor the water that comes from the Great Miami Buried Valley Aquifer System and establish an early detection system for threats to the region’s water quality. Researchers at the facility will also partner with the private sector to analyze new water-monitoring technologies that one day could be put to use around the world.

In addition to monitoring the aquifer and developing a system to detect threats, the GMGWO will use the Duke Energy grant to establish a summer environmental research training program for teachers. Twenty area K-12 science teachers will team with UC researchers for six weeks of hands-on scientific research and instruction in air and water quality, biodiversity, waste management and other topics. The summer program aims to inspire teachers, enhance their scientific understanding, and help them develop curriculum modules and ideas to use in their classrooms.