Students to Present Results of Research on Mercury in the Northeast | Events

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Students to Present Results of Research on Mercury in the Northeast
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Students to Present Results of Research on Mercury in the Northeast

Students from five high schools in central and Downeast Maine have been conducting research on mercury in local watersheds and will be presenting their findings at a poster session at John Bapst High School on Friday, May 25, at 9:00 a.m. The students will be presenting their research for an audience of scientists, resource managers, parents, and the public. For the past four years, the Schoodic Education and Research Center (SERC) Institute at Acadia National Park, working in cooperation with the Mitchell Center and Maine Sea Grant at the University of Maine, has trained and supported teachers in a participatory research project called “Acadia Learning” that engages high school students in sample collection and data analysis.

Over 200 students and science teachers from Bangor, John Bapst, Old Town, Mount View, and Sumner Memorial high schools selected research sites in Kenduskeag Stream in Bangor, the Sunkhaze National Wildlife Refuge, General Cobb Stream in Franklin, and several streams near Thorndike, where they collected and identified dozens of aquatic invertebrates.  They sent their samples to the Sawyer Environmental Chemistry Research Laboratory at the University of Maine, where they were analyzed for mercury content. The students then used the data to investigate their own research questions about how mercury accumulates in food chains in local streams. The data have also become part of a regional database coordinated by University of Maine scientist, Dr. Sarah Nelson, adding to a regional picture of mercury in freshwaters across the Northeast.

Dr. Nelson and Dr. Mike Soukup, President and CEO of SERC Institute will address poster session attendees on Friday morning. The student researchers will then be available to discuss their research and answer questions as they share their posters. The poster session will end at 11:00 a.m.

SERC Institute and its partners, the Mitchell Center and Maine Sea Grant at the University of Maine, provide teachers with supplies, materials, and training in the scientific aspects of the project, and engages them in developing linkages between the field research, the systems perspective, and existing curricula. 

Acadia Learning is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Maine Department of Education, private donors, and the Davis Foundation.

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