Ground Water Institute
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Community Involvement Recent Outreach Activities

GWI is committed to making its research understandable and useful to non-scientists through informal education and public outreach activities. 

A few examples of GWI’s community involvement include the following:

  •  Participating in conferences, workshops and meetings
  •  Providing speakers for community groups
  •  Hosting a table, booth or tent at community events
  •  Collaborating with museums, nature centers, science centers and similar   institutions to develop exhibits related to water

GWI is also a resource for the K-12 education community.  How can K-12 teachers and students benefit from GWI’s offerings?

  • Workshops help teachers become more confident when teaching about water science by giving them current science that’s localized along with interactive activities and information that correlate with state and national standards
  • Classroom visits and demonstrations can foster an interest in science, technology, engineering and math in K-12 students
  • High school internships with GWI offer students an opportunity to explore engineering and water science in a  supportive environment

For more information, please contact GWI by calling 901/678-4315 or emailing.

  Recent Outreach Activities

    Annual U of M Green Awareness Day October 8, 2013

For the 5th year in a row, GWI participated in the annual Tiger Blue Goes Green, a campus event that is open to the public and designed to increase awareness about sustainable technologies.  The event was October 8, 2013. GWI's table featured educational displays and information, and staff was on hand to answer questions about the Memphis aquifer system, groundwater, and GWI research. 

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  GWI Mentors High School Interns

Buckeye Technologies made it possible for GWI to mentor three local high school students as interns during June and July of 2011.  The interns learned about ground water, the Memphis aquifer system, and current research at GWI, among other things.  Buckeye Technologies wants to encourage students to consider engineering and water science careers by exposing school students to academic research and seeing its application to real world issues. 

The interns were Cari Harris, a senior at Germantown High School, Meredith Compton, a senior at St. George’s Independent School, and Sikora Bayubahe, a 2011 graduate of Central High School.


The students participated in many activities, both indoors and outdoors.  Some of the indoor activities included learning about e-logs and contour mapping.  Outdoor activities included field research to learn more about well monitoring and testing, collecting and interpreting transducers, and locating and identifying contaminant source inventories. 

In June, they toured the Memphis, Light, Gas and Water (MLGW) Sheahan Pumping Station and learned how Memphis drinking water is extracted from the ground, treated, and then pumped into homes and businesses. 

In late July, Buckeye Technologies invited the interns to meet with staff members for a question and answer meeting about engineering careers.  The informal meeting was followed by a presentation about Buckeye Technologies products and the processes involved in making those products.

GWI appreciates Buckeye Technologies for making the internships possible. 

If current high school students or teachers are interested in participating in this program, please contact GWI at email.

GWI Interns experiencing field work   

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  Girls Experiencing Engineering and Water Resources with GWI

During the mornings of June 29 and 30, 2011, 21 local high school female students learned about ground water and water resources as part of the U of M’s Girls Experiencing Engineering (GEE) program.  Activities included short talks, video clips, hands-on activities, group projects, student presentations, and guest speakers who were female engineers.

GEE is a successful program as evidenced by several former GEE participants who are now students at the Herff College of Engineering.  GEE typically occurs every June at the U of M and is open to girls in grades six through 12.

The Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis sponsors GEE.

GWI Interns attending Girls Experiencing Engineering  GWI Interns attending Girls Experiencing Engineering

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  GWI Helps to Create the Buckman Water Science Trail at Lichterman Nature Center

The Pink Palace Museum collaborated with GWI to create educational panels for the newly named Mertie’s Lake at Lichterman Nature Center.  The result of this collaboration is the Buckman Water Science Trail, which features six outdoor panels focusing on water science and the role water has played in the history and development of Memphis.  GWI helped to provide the text and images on the panels.

The Buckman family made the project possible to honor Mertie Buckman, a Memphis philanthropist who passed away in 1999.  The Buckman Water Science Trail dedication took place on June 4, 2011, to honor Mertie Buckman’s commitment to environmental stewardship, especially with regard to water.  GWI’s Interim Director, Dr. Brian Waldron, spoke at the dedication. To read his speech, click here.


Lichterman Nature Center GWI Trail signs opening and dedication

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  GWI Provided Ideas for Shelby Scholars Summer Institute

GWI helped local teachers to create activities and lessons on how to test, treat and filter contaminated water.  These activities and lesson plans were put to the test on 250 students in June 2011 on the U of M campus during the annual Shelby Summer Scholars Institute (SSSI). 

Shelby County Schools sponsors the program for middle school students to help them prepare for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers.  The program uses project- and inquiry-based activities to reflect real world problem solving. 

This year’s theme was how to respond to and rebuild Japan after the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami.   Complicating the situation in Japan was the nuclear wastewater.   Responding and rebuilding after a disaster such as this includes having access to clean, safe drinking water or treating water so that it is safe for human use.

The program has received local, state, and national attention, having most recently appeared in T.H.E. Journal magazine as a demonstration of successful STEM programs.

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  Earth Week and GWI

GWI participated in Earth Week by hosting a booth with educational displays on our ground water at the Down to Earth Festival held at Shelby Farms Park on April 20, 2013.  The annual event attracted thousands of visitors with many visits made to our booth. 

Earth Day 2011

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  GWI and the U of M Green Internship Program

During the 2011 and 2012 spring semesters, GWI mentored a Green Intern as part of new internship program through the University’s Office of Academic Internships. 

In 2012, undergraduate engineering major Nicole Carney participated.  As part of her internship, she researched elements for the design and construction of a water education and conservation garden, a future GWI project.

Ms. Carney participated in a variety of experiences that were designed to enhance her education as well as provide her with opportunities for professional growth.

In 2011, undergraduate Tabria Majors applied for the program because of her interest in sustainability.   While interning, she learned about the source of Memphis’s drinking water and then applied this learning to further GWI’s education and outreach efforts.  

During her internship, one of her activities included making a presentation to the Science Club at Germantown Middle School about the Memphis aquifer system and teaching students how to “build an aquifer,” which allowed them to understand the Memphis aquifer system in a hands-on and visual way. 

To watch a video featuring Tabria and to learn more about the Green Internship program, go here


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  Annual  Engineering Open House

GWI participated in the annual Engineering Open House (E-Day) hosted by the Herff College of Engineering. Nearly 1,000 middle and high school students participate in the event designed to celebrate engineering education and the engineering profession.  GWI demonstrated a model that illustrates surface water and groundwater interaction by showing a stream gaining and losing water and the effects it could have on its environment.  November 22 is the date for the 2013 E-day.

Engineering Day Surface Water Model

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GWI and the Annual U of M Green Awareness Day October 8, 2013.

GWI Mentors High School Interns

Girls Experiencing Engineering and Water Resources with GWI

GWI Helps to Create the Buckman Water Science Trail at Lichterman Nature Center

GWI Provided Ideas for Shelby Scholars Summer Institute

Earth Week and GWI

GWI and the U of M Green Internship Program

Engineering Open House

Upcoming Public Events

GWI will participate in the following events with the Water on Wheels (WOW) Mobile, a booth, or in another way.  Click on each link for more information.

University of Memphis Earth Day, April 17, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Shelby Farms Down to Earth Festival, April 19, 2014 (The Water on Wheels Mobile will be open to the public.)

Memphis Botanic Garden, April 22, 2014 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. (The Water on Wheels Mobile will be open to the public.)

Memphis Botanic Garden, April 26, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  (The Water on Wheels Mobile will be open to the public.)

Memphis Botanic Garden, April 28, 2014 from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. (The Water on Wheels Mobile will be open to the public.)

DeSoto County 4th Annual Earth Day Celebration, April 26, 2014

Herff College of Engineering Open House at The University of Memphis,  November 21, 2014



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Last Updated: 4/14/14