This 23-minute video explores a variety of environments and factors in the science of water pollution and potential solutions. To really decode the STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) and social aspects of water pollution and solutions, we’re also creating four separate Serious Science videos and companion classroom lesson activities. Coming soon, these educational materials will empower students with peer-driven critical thinking in classrooms across the county, while being distributed by our ITO network of educational partners .
Many experts believe water is the last truly precious resource on Earth. It’s the key ingredient to all life. When it’s contaminated, it impacts all the living things it nourishes… including us. And sources of contamination remain a constant battle on the conservation front.
We use water in our everyday lives, to help run our businesses, to grow our foods, to recreate in and around, and in many places, to create our electricity. Though we expect those waters to be free of contamination, clean water for us to drink, swim in, or eat fish from, this can’t be assumed.
For instance, imagine getting deathly sick from coming into contact with some lake water. That’s exactly what can happen in Tainter Lake, Wisconsin. This once-popular fishing and swimming lake is impaired because of the toxic affects of massive algal blooms during the summer. Fortunately, there are agencies and people that really care about the waters of Tainter Lake who understand the science of how to curb the problem. In the first segment of the video, you’ll discover the history of this watershed and what is being done to solve the lake’s longstanding pollution problems.
Next in the video, you’ll travel southeast to explore what the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District is doing to protect the waters of Lake Michigan. You’ll get to see what you normally can’t, as you go deep underground to learn about Milwaukee’s “gray infrastructure”. Don’t worry… “smell-o-vision” hasn’t been invented yet. To discover how Milwaukee’s expanding “green infrastructure” is keeping waters clean, you’ll also tour Mitchell Domes with Zaire to see creative ways they recycle water that benefit plants and animals at the same time.
Have you ever heard of “karst topography”? Don’t worry; the next segment in the video will reveal how nature’s hand carves caves, sinkholes, and, unfortunately, avenues of pollution. Learn why farmers living in areas with karst topography have to be extra careful to prevent animal waste and chemicals from reaching the water table. Zaire phones in with a microbiologist to uncover the biological problems that can arise when people pollute water in areas of karst topography.
Finally, you’ll get to kayak with Caroline as she paddles down Pleasant Valley, where you’ll discover the science behind an impaired stream that was given a second chance at life. See how stakeholders took ownership and transformed the polluted stream into a high-quality trout stream while creating a model for stream restoration across the nation. Investigate under, on, and over the water to see what was done to keep Pleasant Valley, well… exceptionally pleasant.
To expand your learning to peer-driven classroom education, download the free lesson guides and activities that will be coming soon. If you want to know more about what is being done to protect waterways in Wisconsin, visit the website of the educational partner that supported this video and lesson content, Wisconsin Land+Water.