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 2, 2012
For the 4th 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 2, 2012. GWI's table featured educational
displays and information, and students and staff were 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
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.
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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.
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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.
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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 21, 2012. The annual event attracted thousands of visitors with many visits
made to our booth.
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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,
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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
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