Tag Archives: how to save the st lucie river indian river lagoon

2nd Graders Teach Me About the Kissimmee River, Lake O’s Phosphorus and Nitrogen, How to Save the SLR/IRL

Mrs Jacobsen and her students present the Kissimmee river model. (Photo  JRL, 4-22-15.)
Mrs Jacobsen and her students present the Kissimmee River- Lake Okeechobee model. (Photo JTL, 4-22-15.)
River Kidz is empowering for students!
River Kidz is empowering for students!

It was Earth Day yesterday, and my eyes filled with tears as I walked into the  Citrus Grove Elementary School classroom. I had been invited to see the graduation of River Kidz for Mrs Jacobson’s second grade class. Once I opened the door, the students were waiting and some took me by the hand sitting me down; they were so exited to show me what they had been learning, and how they were all working to grow up and save the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon.

“This is different.” I thought to myself….”in years past, I would take control of the classroom, but now the kids are taking control of me!”

I watched the classroom dynamics. It was not” top down; ” it worked in both directions: Mrs Jacobsen assisting her students while they in turn assisted her— working together.

While the presentation was prepared, one boy excitedly told me about how the class had built this model of the Kissimmee River to represent what it looked like before it was channelized, “straightened,” by the Army Corp of Engineers between 1960-1971. He also explained “this is one of the things hurting our river…”

model
Model’s sign.
model wide view
Model wide view: floodplain, river, and Lake Okeechobee…
glass of water and green glitter
Glass of water and green glitter representing phosphorus and nitrogen from fertilizer and other runoff.
glitter representing phosphorus and nitrogen
Glitter representing phosphorus and nitrogen ends up in Lake O but not as mush as it the tube were straight!

He shared that the board painted green was the floodplain’s vegetation, and the plastic tube that weaved and oxbowed, like a snake, was the original river;  a cup of water filled with glitter represented nitrogen and phosphorus-what feeds toxic algae blooms in our rivers. This water-glitter concoction would be poured through the tube, (the river) and the extra “nutrient” or fertilizer, would end up in a plastic brown container at the bottom of the tube representing Lake Okeechobee.

We stared with great amazement and observed how because of the oxbows, most of the glitter, was caught in the winding shape, and just a little ended up running through the tube. Students discussed how if the tube were straight, of course all of the green glitter-water would “just shoot down into Lake Okeechobee.”

“This is why the ACOE is fixing some of the river “oxbowey” again…Making the river strait was a bad idea….” 🙂

More complex that this? Of course. But does this help a second grader start to “get it?”

Kissimmee River Story: (http://www.ces.fau.edu/riverwoods/kissimmee.php)

What a visual! How awesome! I was more than impressed…

As the morning went on, we there was a presentation from the “Dolphin Lady,” Nic  Mader, and the students showed their artwork, letters to Congressman Murphy, and chart on the white board counting down days left for the Florida Legislature to purchase land south of the lake.

Hoy Cow! —–No, Holy River!

The River Kidz program is in Martin County schools and with the help of great teachers and wonderful students, it’s creating excitement, understanding, empowerment, and responsibility for a better water future.  A future for which we can all be proud…

Writing Congressman Murphy fulfills a state standard.
Writing Congressman Murphy fulfills  state standards.
One of the lethers to Congressman Murphy.
One of the letters to Congressman Murphy.
Sign on board wit land purchase south of the lake deadline for the state legislature, 2015.
Sign on board with land purchase south of the lake deadline for the state legislature, 2015.
Stop Killing Our Lagoon art work.
Stop Killing Our Lagoon art work.
Save the Animals art work.
Save the Animals art work.
River Kidz Second Ed. Workbook.
River Kidz Second Ed. Workbook. Teachers use to teach as fits their class.

Electronic copy: “River Kidz 2nd Ed. Workbook:” (http://riverscoalition.org/riverkidz/riverkidz-workbooks/)

 

Mission Statement River Kidz
Mission Statement River Kidz
Mrs Jacobson's students all graduated receiving a certificate from the River Kidz program from the back of the book. They were very proud and will be River Kidz for the entire lives.
Mrs Jacobson’s students all graduated receiving a certificate from the River Kidz program from the back of the book. They were very proud and will be River Kidz for their entire lives.

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River Kidz is a division of the Rivers Coalition: (http://riverscoalition.org)