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Posted November 9, 2010

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Students and Teachers Present at Conference for Math, Science, and Environmental Educators

School on Wheels Alternative High School seniors Estevan Sedillo, Christine Griego and Estevan Ramirez and junior Anthony Cordova presented last month alongside teachers and scientific professionals at a state conference for math, science and environmental educators.

As the only student presenters at the fall conference for the New Mexico Science Teachers Association, the New Mexico Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the Environmental Education Association of New Mexico, the students joined Rio Grande High teachers John Wright, Carol Lopez and Bill Gorum and former School on Wheels teacher Vince Case, who gave a hands-on presentation about the Acequia Monitoring, Outreach, and Restoration (AMOR) project.

Started in 2007, the AMOR project monitors the water quality of Albuquerque’s acequias and riverside drains since no government entity regularly monitors the safety or health of the acequias.  Over 400 Rio Grande and 30 School on Wheels students have participated in the monitoring project since its inception.

Conference participants learned about the project’s goals and objectives, and teachers Wright, Lopez, and Gorum shared how they developed integrated, project-based learning experiences for their Rio Grande students.  Rio students wrote poetry, learned about the history of acequias, interviewed local residents about the cultural and economic value of acequias, not to mention the science behind water quality monitoring and the mathematics needed to analyze the data.  Participants then learned how to conduct scientific water quality monitoring from SOW students Sedillo, Griego, Ramirez, and Cordova.

Articles about the AMOR project have been published in the Santa Fe New Mexican, the Albuquerque Journal and the New York Times.  In September 2009, the AMOR project pharmaceutical data spurred the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority to monitor water for pharmaceutical chemicals.

The success of AMOR is due to funding through the US Fish & Wildlife Bosque Initiative as well as the collaboration of and partnerships between student groups, their teachers, community non-profits and the professional scientists involved in this project.

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