Back in March, 2019 Houston ISD hosted their annual fundraising event, Public Education Matters Benefit Dinner and during this event, many HISD schools submitted innovative ideas for sponsors to fund their projects through the HISD Foundation Innovation Fund. Of all the schools that submitted an innovative project idea, Bellaire High School’s “Water Works-A Community and Global Water Quality Project” was the one that caught alliantgroup’s attention.
What was interesting about this project was the fact that this post Hurricane Harvey water quality testing project will involve more than three hundred students from the high school and that it aligns with alliantgroup’s main philanthropic mission of supporting STEM education. That is why alliantgroup decided to sponsor this $10,000 grant for Bellaire High School through the HISD Foundation Innovation Fund.
With the money from the grant, the BHS Aquatic Science team was able to buy brand new professional water testing equipment and go on field trips including to Braes Bayou and Surfside Beach where they collected saltwater water quality parameters including nitrites, nitrates, ammonia, hardness, pH, temperature, alkalinity, dissolved oxygen and turbidity.
In late October, alliantgroup also sponsored a three-day field trip to the Bolivar Peninsula for three hundred BHS students that are part of the Aquatic Science team. During this field trip, students had the chance to apply classroom learning to a real world experience. Students were able to use their new water testing equipment including the Vernier Lab Quest 2 and the accompanying probes to conduct field water quality testing for pH, nitrates, salinity, temperature and dissolved oxygen.
Students will compare the data obtained from the Bolivar Peninsula to the data obtained from other test sites collected throughout the school year, so they can analyze the quality of water in and around the Houston area. In addition, students will also use the data to determine the population recovery of mollusks in the area, specifically oysters, with that same pre and post Hurricane Harvey data.
On the last day of the field trip, the students encountered inclement weather but that did not stop three alliantgroup engineers and the Corporate Citizenship team in assisting the BHS students in a variety of activities at the Bolivar Peninsula!
Some students seined and caught a variety of organisms including shrimp, jellyfish, pinfish, catfish and blue crabs, while other students collected trash and the rest collected shells for their Malacology unit project, where they will identify the shells and organisms that are from the Gulf Coast area closer to Houston.
Next on the agenda for the BHS Aquatic students is learning how to do the engineering design process, by designing, creating and testing water filters and other common household items. Students will also continue their water quality field studies at the Bellaire Ditch and at Surfside, Texas later in the spring semester.