Ground Water Institute
University of Memphis Photo
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 901/678-4229 or emailing.


 Recent Outreach Activities


 tiger paw  GWI Debuts the Water on Wheels (WOW) Mobile Fall 2014

The Water on Wheels (WOW) mobile debuts fall 2014.

The WOW is an educational component of the GWI designed to teach visitors of all ages about the source of Memphis's drinking water, the Memphis aquifer system, as well as other facets related to water and its necessity for all living things.

Inside the WOW, visitors will interact with displays related to the Memphis aquifer system, the water cycle, virtual water usage, watersheds, and home water usage.  Another display informs visitors about the difference between our storm water sewer and sanitary sewer systems.

GWI staff and students will answer questions and demonstrate how the Memphis aquifer system works.

The WOW mobile was made possible by a gift from the International Paper Foundation. 

For more information about the WOW, including how to request it for public events and school visits, click here.


tiger paw DeSoto County Earth Day April 2014

GWI participated in DeSoto County's Annual Earth Day on April 26.  Visitors to the GWI booth were interested in learning more about the source of their drinking water and how they could preserve and protect their water.  Scott Schoefernacker, GWI's Senior Research Scientist, was on hand to answer questions.


 tiger paw Green Intern Assists with Water Conservation Exhibit at the Dixon Gallery & Gardens

In the spring of 2014, and for the third year, GWI mentored a Green Intern as part of the Green Internship program through the university's Office of Academic Internships.

Undergraduate earth sciences major Katie Dagastino sought out this internship due to her interests in geology and sustainability.

While interning, Ms. Dagastino learned about the geology of Memphis's drinking water and then applied this learning to further GWI's education and outreach efforts.

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

As part of her internship, she worked with K-12 students to create an aquifer model for display at the Dixon Gallery & Gardens as part of a water conservation exhibit. By building a model of the Memphis aquifer system, the students could better understand how the aquifer system works visually and hands-on.


tiger paw Water Workshop for Teachers

In February 2014, GWI assisted the Wolf River Conservancy in conducting a workshop on water at Camp Pinecrest for 20 K-12 teachers and informal educators.  

Workshop participants learned about GWI's research being done at Camp Pinecrest and were taken on a walking tour of the different research sites. 

Camp Pinecrest is located in Fayette County, which is the recharge area for the Memphis aquifer.


    Annual U of M Green Awareness Day

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.

Mark your calendar for Tuesday, October 7, 2014 to attend the next Tiger Blue Goes Green event and see the Water on Wheels (WOW) mobile.

Back To Top


  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  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

Back To Top


  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.  October 24 is the date for the 2014 E-day.

Engineering Day Surface Water Model

Back To Top

Watch a video about the Water on Wheels (WOW) mobile

Dr. Dan Larsen on the Lipscomb Pitts Breakfast Club Radio Show, May 24, 2014.  Click here to listen.



Upcoming Public Events

GWI will participate in the following events with the Water on Wheels (WOW) Mobile.  Click on each link for more information.

Herff College of Engineering Open House at The University of Memphis,  October 24, 2014.

The WOW will be at the Memphis Zoo on Saturday, October 25 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for Get Ready Shelby Day.



Text Only | Print | Got a Question? Ask TOM | Contact Us | Memphis, TN 38152 | 901/678-2000 | Copyright 2014 University of Memphis | Important Notice | Last Updated: 
Contact Ground Water Institute| 300 Engineering Administration Building |Memphis, TN 38152 | Phone: 901/678-4315 | E-mail:
Last Updated: 10/22/14