This is from a “From the Editor”column I took over at AAA Going Places magazine during my time there.
Most teens throughout metro Atlanta probably watch football on any given weekend. Or they’re playing it. Perhaps they’re at the mall, text messaging friends or updating their social media status. They’re certainly not worrying about the recent drought their area is experiencing; or what will happen once the skies open and the drought is over.
And while very little can be done on their part about the drought itself, Mike De Lisle’s team of science students from McIntosh High School in Peachtree City, GA, are preparing for what will inevitably follow when the rain finally comes–bringing with it relief, but also new challenges like polluted runoff.
Two years ago, following the last drought, heavy post-drought rains fell hard and fast, causing a deluge of fertilizer and other refuse from unauthorized landscaping to cascade down the clay hills of the neighborhood into the lake below. And it killed everything downstream..
So the students took their concerns before the city council and asked that the ordinances already on the books protecting the reservoir be enforced. The council listened. Despite heavy opposition from some landowners who had fertilized and built too close to the shoreline, the ordinances were followed.
The group is one of 10 from McIntosh High monitoring streams throughout the area as part of the Adopt-A-Stream (AAS) program. To participate, students must make a nine-month commitment–12 months if they want to come back the following year–and undergo extensive training. they also go door to door educating their neighbors about he importance of protecting the environment from the hazards of runoff. In the spring of 2006, the state awarded the school’s AAS program its Excellence in Data Collection Award for its consistency.
This extraordinary group has already made a big difference in their small part of the world. It will be interesting to see what they do next. Their future, and future generations, may depend on it.