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Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and University of Illinois Extension

Rx for Action

A blog devoted to helping people find local medicine take-back programs and highlighting current research findings and pending legislation.

Russ Miget

PPCP workshop for educators held in Corpus Christi

On June 14th, 10 educators attended a workshop in Corpus Christi, TX to learn about PPCP's in the environment. The educators were a mix of both formal classroom teachers from area school districts and informal educators from the Texas Master Naturalist Program. We discussed basic questions such as: what are PPCP's? How do they end up in water? Does conventional wastewater treatment remove them? What natural processes can break them down and what factors can lead to their persistence? What are the ecological impacts from PPCP's? What can be done to minimize impacts? Additionally, educators interacted with materials and activities, including links to the Medicine Chest curriculum and other Sea Grant PPCP resources, in order to teach audiences that they work with about this important topic. The workshop was an outreach effort of a current research project at Baylor University headed by Dr. Bryan Brooks and funded by Texas Sea Grant.

Texas' bays and estuaries are sustained by freshwater inflows from our rivers that arise far inland and flow through both rural and metropolitan landscapes. Over the next few decades, an increasing proportion of base inflows to the Texas coast are projected to be dependent on effluent discharges from wastewater treatment plants as the Texas population doubles. Though these effluents contain a complex mixture of PPCP's and other Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CEC's), information on hydrologic loading of these contaminants to Texas coastal systems and associated risks to aquatic life are not known.

The highlight of the workshop was an afternoon field trip aboard the Floating Classroom the Karma, led by Dr. Russ Miget with Texas Sea Grant. Participants experienced first-hand the natural resources of Corpus Christi Bay including plankton and other organisms such as puffer fish, starfish, and sting rays collected with nets and trawls. Several educators expressed amazement at the diversity of aquatic life in the bay, even though they may have lived there for years. Dr. Miget also demonstrated some of the factors influencing water quality in the bay. With the Corpus Christi skyline in the background and dolphins playing beside the boat, it was easy to connect the dots between the actions that we take as humans, and the ecology of our coastal ecosystems. We hope to conduct additional similar workshops, for both coastal and inland audiences, as all Texans can play a part in ensuring the health of our bays and estuaries and the Gulf of Mexico in the future.

Photo: Dr. Russ Miget with Texas Sea Grant talks with educators at a recent PPCP workshop

Guest post by Melissa Mullins, Environmental Educator, Baylor University

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Posted by Laura Kammin at 8:00AM on 6/26/2013
Categories: For Teachers Workshops & Events