Oakwood School 4th graders get Swim Guide education

Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Jill Howell introduced some fourth graders to Swim Guide and how to find out if your water is yucky.

Jill was invited to give a presentation on Wednesday at the Oakwood School in Greenville by teacher Hunt McKinnon, who heard her speak at a Greenville Rotary meeting and thought his fourth-graders could benefit from learning about water quality.

“We talked about the river, what Riverkeepers do and what Swim Guide is,” Jill said.

She came prepared for the presentation with water samples she’d collected and incubated to illustrate how much E. coli is in a given sample. This time, samples came from tap water, a ditch catching runoff from the Oakwood School parking lot, a duck pond on the school campus and from the Port Terminal boat launch on the Tar River. Under a black light, the kids could see how much E. coli was in each sample.

“The duck pond was the worse, but Port Terminal was a close second,” Jill said, adding that the results made sense because the duck pond is pretty small and there were a lot of ducks making use of it, and with the amount of rain lately, stormwater runoff likely upped the presence of E. coli at Port Terminal.

“We talked about why those two were really high and how bacteria ends up in the water, then we went outside and I showed them how we collect water samples,” Jill said.

She said teaching water quality to fourth graders was a fun experience.

“They were rambunctious, but had a lot of great questions and were very engaged. They were a great group of kids.”