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2012 July 17


The Great Lakes are a Midwest treasure, and the students at Harper Woods Middle School in Michigan know it.  That is why they were recently recognized in a national competition for their environmental stewardship of the Great Lakes.

Team ECK H20 , as they’re called, wanted to research the unseen threats to human and environmental health in water sources, specifically the Milk River and the 10 Mile Drain which is in their community.  This team of 13 year old girls built and deployed water sampling buoys that contained plates designed to use a chemical called EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) to extract harmful chemicals that may be in the water.  They then collected the sample plates to measure the levels of pollution and toxic chemicals in each water location.  With the assistance of a lab team from University of Connecticut, the girls uncovered that there were lower levels of pollution in the 10 Mile Drain when compared to the Milk River location.  The girls’ think that the EPA’s recent clean up of the Ten Mile Drain is contributing to the lower pollution levels.

When asked about their efforts, one team member, Emily, said, “It just tells us that we have to be more careful; with how we treat our lakes and water sources.” This project has opened up Emily’s eyes to a future in environmental law.  The girls hope that they can continue their research next year as 8th graders.  In the meantime, they have coordinated beach clean-up teams and have presented their project findings to local government agencies.

Great things are happening in Michigan. Team ECK H20 is just one example.

Yvonne Gonzalez is a SCEP intern with the Air and Radiation Division in Region 5.  She recently received her dual graduate degree from DePaul University.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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