Progress Report: Water on Wheels Mobile
The Water on Wheels (WOW) Mobile will be ready to roll by the end of the fall! Funded
by the International Paper Foundation, the Ground Water Institute (GWI) will use this
innovative teaching tool to inform participants of all ages about the water cycle,
the role of groundwater and other important water related facts. The WOW Mobile is
a trailer that is creatively filled with interactive educational components designed
to make learning fun and memorable.
The GWI staff has feverishly worked over the last year to create an exciting portable
educational space. Michelle Dry, Director of Education Outreach for the GWI, is overseeing
the creation and implementation of the project. “It has been fun seeing the elements
come together. We’ve learned so much throughout this process,” Dry says. “We are fortunate
to have some exceptional individuals designing and building this unique learning experience.”
Pictured below, representatives from the GWI, U of M Communications, Public Relations
and Marketing division, Sullivan Branding, Fly by Night Carpentry and Pam Hurley meet
to discuss design specifics.
Tim Giles, owner of Fly by Night Carpentry, is constructing the contents. Dry shares,
“He’s constructed the exhibit pieces to be light and mobile meaning that they can
withstand the frequent starts and stops of being in a moving vehicle vs. an installation
in a museum.” Pictured here (from left to right) Tim Giles, and GWI representatives
- Brian Waldron, James Eason, and Scott Schoefernacker - discuss the lighting to be
used in the WOW Mobile.
Tim Giles on left, Brian Waldron in middle, Scott Schoefernacker on the right are
looking over one of the interactive exhibits. This piece will eventually explain the
water distribution on our planet earth. Each side will display different information
about the distribution of water in and on the earth.
Dry continues, “U of M graduate and faculty member Pam Hurley took our ideas and made
them come to life in a fun, educational, durable, and safe way.” Hurley was the first
student to earn the professional, two-year Master of Architecture degree at the University
of Memphis. Pictured here, view the cloud mural that Hurley hand-painted.
Additionally, the U of M Communications, Public Relations and Marketing division jumped
on board and brought in the university’s advertising agency, Sullivan Branding. The
agency designed the exterior wrap for the WOW Mobile and is creating the printed graphics
that will appear throughout the interior.
When thinking about the impact of the WOW Mobile, Dry says she is most excited “to
meet a need in our community.” Taking students off site is a difficult process for
any teacher. It includes extra costs, safety issues and a loss of learning time. Since
the WOW Mobile meets participants at their location, students and teachers remain
focused on learning, not on the distractions that field trips can entail.
“The WOW Mobile will be an extraordinary educational extension to GWI’s education
and outreach program. We are expecting it to be in high demand by local schools,”
says Dr. Brian Waldron, GWI Interim Director.
The learning activities developed for the WOW Mobile complement state mandated academic
standards. Dry shares, “The exhibits supplement what teachers are teaching in their
classrooms and appeal to all learning styles, especially hands-on or kinesthetic learners.
Also, the information in the displays is designed to overlap, so students will move
through the space and learn at their own pace and not be forced to learn in a rigid
For more information about the WOW Mobile and other Ground Water Institute work, visit
http://www.memphis.edu/gwi or contact Michelle Dry at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the International Paper Foundation, visit www.IPGiving.com.
GWI serves as a research and advisory asset to Memphis, Shelby County and the Mid-South,
and was established in 1991. Its mission is to engage in applied research excellence,
education, and leadership toward sustaining community ground water resources.