Ground Water Institute
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Community Involvement Recent Outreach Activities

Upcoming Community Events

It's spring, and that means it's time to roll out the Water on Wheels mobile, or as we call it, the WOW mobile!

  • The Memphis Grizzlies have invited GWI to have the Water on Wheels mobile at the Grizzlies game on March 27!  Details coming soon!
  • The Water on Wheels mobile will be at the Tennessee American Water Resources Association meeting at Montgomery Bell State Park on April 1!  Park visitors are invited to experience the WOW!
  • The Water on Wheels mobile will be at the University of Memphis's Earth Day Celebration on April 16!  Details coming soon!
  • The Water on Wheels mobile will be at the DeSoto County Earth Day Festival on April 25!  Details coming soon!

If your school or organization wants to book the WOW for spring events, email for more information.


What We Do

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   The Water on Wheels (WOW) Mobile Travels Around Memphis - Fall 2014

The Water on Wheels (WOW) mobile continues to make a splash with teachers and students around Memphis and Shelby County.

This mobile learning experience that is all about water has been visiting area schools, educating students and teachers about the Memphis aquifer and more.

Grizzlies Prep

The Water on Wheels (WOW) mobile made its way to downtown Memphis and visited the Grizzles Prep campus on Monday, November 3.  Nearly 120 6th graders toured the WOW mobile and participated in other activities designed to educate the students about ground water and its connection with watersheds.

The visit to the Grizzlies Prep campus was made possible through a partnership with Clean Memphis

Carnes Elementary School

Carnes Elementary students explored the Water on Wheels (WOW) mobile on Wednesday, November 12.  The students were excited to learn more about the Memphis aquifer system, their watershed, and what they could do to preserve and protect water.

This opportunity was made possible by Clean Memphis, an education and outreach partner of the GWI.

Christ United Methodist Day School

The WOW visited Christ United Methodist Day School on November 14, working with students in grades 4 and 5.  The visit supplemented what the students were learning with teacher Mary Cheairs, the organizer of the school visit.

American Way Middle School

Students at American Way Middle School braved the weather and explored the WOW on November 25.  This learning opportunity for students in grades 6, 7 and 8, was made possible by Clean Memphis.

Campus School at the University of Memphis

On December 2, the entire 4th grade at the Campus School on the University of Memphis campus braved the chilly weather and warmed up the WOW with their enthusiasm and excitement as they interacted with the WOW staff.

St. George's Independent School

Prior to the winter break, the WOW made its last 2014 visit to the Memphis campus of St. George's Independent School on December 18. Classroom teacher Briana Woods used the WOW to supplement what her students were learning about water.  See the response the teacher and students had in this two-minute video here.

Your School Could Be Here!

To find out how to schedule a WOW mobile visit, call 901/678-4229 or email.  For more details about the WOW, go here.

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 tiger paw   WOW on Display at Earth Sciences Day on University of Memphis Campus

The Water on Wheels (WOW) mobile was free and open to the public on Saturday, November 1, for Earth Sciences Day, sponsored by the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Memphis.  GWI staff and students were on hand to answer questions about an amazing aquifer system.

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 tiger paw   Field Trip with AP High School Students with Wolf River Conservancy

GWI staff played no tricks on 25 AP Environmental Science students from Raleigh-Egypt High School on Friday, October 31.  Instead, these high school students were treated to a researcher-led tour at one of GWI's research sites, Camp Pinecrest in Fayette County.  The students learned about recharge research and explored a clay pit.

Students responded with enthusiasm, questions, and much photo taking at seeing three different research areas.  The clay pit was a highlight for many and they had an opportunity to take some home with them at the end of the day.  The clay pit is the same type of clay that makes up the protective clay layer of the Memphis aquifer system. Seeing the recharge area and some of the equipment that's used was enlightening for the students and their teacher, Dr. Jogee Goodwin.

The Wolf River Conservancy hosted this field trip.

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 tiger paw   Conservation Field Day in DeSoto County

 field_dayGWI staff and the Water on Wheels (WOW) mobile were in DeSoto County on Thursday, October 30 to participate in the DeSoto County Conservation Field Day.

This event was coordinated by the DeSoto County Soil & Water Conservation District. 

Approximately 600 5th graders from across DeSoto County schools explored the WOW mobile, learned more about the Memphis aquifer system, and learned how to preserve and protect groundwater.

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 tiger paw   Memphis Zoo's Get Ready Shelby Day

The Water on Wheels (WOW) mobile was at the Memphis Zoo on Saturday, October 25 as part of Get Ready Shelby Day.  Nearly 300 zoo visitors made their way to the WOW mobile and learned more about groundwater in Memphis and Shelby County.

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 tiger paw   Engineering Open House

GWI participated in the annual Engineering Open House (E-Day) hosted by the Herff College of Engineering. Over 2300 middle and high school students participated in the event designed to expose students to engineering at the University of Memphis.

The Water on Wheels (WOW) mobile was on display as part of the GWI exhibit. It also demonstrated groundwater movement in an aquifer model. Additionally, students competed to see who could build an aquifer model that would hold the most water.

tiger paw   Wonders of Water Discovery Days at Lichterman Nature Center
The Water on Wheels (WOW) mobile traveled to the Lichterman Nature Center on October 17 and 18 to participate in the Wonders of Water Discovery Days.  Nearly 600 visitors had the opportunity to explore the WOW, watch a groundwater movement demonstration, and ask water related questions to GWI staff members.

tiger paw   Tiger Blue Goes Green

GWI participated in the annual sustainability event, Tiger Blue Goes Green, on the University of Memphis campus for the sixth consecutive year on Tuesday, October 7, 2014. The new Water on Wheels (WOW) mobile was on display and explored by students, staff, and faculty.  Additionally, GWI hosted a table under the main tent, where the GWI groundwater model was on display.

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 tiger paw   Memphis Zoo Fall Break Camp

Children ranging in ages six to 12 learned about their drinking water when the GWI education and outreach team went to the Memphis Zoo and participated in the zoo's fall break camp in on Wednesday, October 17, 2014.

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 tiger paw    Water on Wheels Debuts at Hummingbird Migration Celebration

The Water on Wheels (WOW) mobile made its debut at the Hummingbird Migration Celebration at the Strawberry Plans Audubon Center on Friday, September 5, 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 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 answers 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.

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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.

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 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 theDixon 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.

Ms. Dagastino is currently interning with GWI during the fall 2014 semester and continues to assist with education and outreach efforts.

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tiger paw   Water Workshop for Teachers

In February 2014, GWI assisted the Wolf River Conservancy in conducting a workshop on water at Camp Pinecrestfor 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.

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  Got Spring Fever? Go Outside and Learn about Water

Got spring fever?  Itching to get outside?  Want to learn more about April showers and May flowers? 

Check out the Buckman Water Science Trail at the beautiful Lichterman Nature Center.  The trail around Mertie's Lake features six outdoor panels focusing on water science and the role water has played in the history and development of Memphis.  GWI collaborated with the Pink Palace Museum to create these educational panels.

As you walk around the lake, enjoying the sights and sounds of nature, you'll see the colorful panels.  It's a great learning opportunity for people of all ages.

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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Watch students interact with the Water on Wheels (WOW) mobile in this two-minute video!

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.


Teachers - How will your K-12 students benefit from interacting with a GWI education and outreach program?

"I believe that my students benefited the most from seeing what we were studying in class used in real life.  It is one thing to study a definition and read about science.  Learning occurs at a deeper level when you are able to create real life experience for students. 

If I were to recommend the GWI to another teacher I would tell them that I feel that my students have a deep understanding and appreciation for how the water cycle works in our area."

Amy Ray, Northpoint Christian School, Southaven, Mississippi


Request Education and Outreach

To request a speaker, a presentation, or to schedule the Water on Wheels (WOW) mobile, please contact GWI by calling 901/678-4229 or emailing.



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Last Updated: 3/10/15