Cocke County students test pollution levels in Pigeon River

Cocke County students test pollution levels in Pigeon River

Posted:
Students take samples of water for pH and other factors. Students take samples of water for pH and other factors.
With the help of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, the students got a hands-on lesson in river ecosystems. With the help of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, the students got a hands-on lesson in river ecosystems.
A volunteer shows students some of the species native to the river. A volunteer shows students some of the species native to the river.

By DREW GARDNER
6 News Reporter

NEWPORT (WATE) - The Pigeon River in Newport has been a source of controversy and court battles over a North Carolina paper mill, which dumps wastewater into the waterway.

On Thursday, students got a chance to do some of the testing that monitors the pollution levels in the river.

"In environmental science we study the effects of our environment and pollution on this river," said science teacher Carol Johnson.

With the help of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, the students got a hands-on lesson.

"They're looking at a number of different factors as far as color, apparent and true in the Pigeon River," said Cliff King with Tennessee Division of Forestry. "They're also looking at pH."

These factors have all been watched closely in recent years for pollution after Blue Ridge Paper Products was reportedly dumping chemicals into the river upstream in North Carolina.

"With these agreements between North Carolina and Tennessee, the students actually get to see what these tests mean for economic and recreation and all sides put together," said King.

The students also got a chance to get up close and personal with a few of the 32 different species living in the river.

Students like Ashley Mihalek say opportunities like this are few and far between.

"This is very rare," said Mihalek. "I have not taken one field trip this year, so I think this is pretty neat."

"The more hands on experiences we can give them, the more broadbased their education is going to be," said Johnson.

A local organization called Vision 21 provided the funding for the field trip. They hope the supplies these funds helped to purchase will allow the program to continue on for many years to come.

By the end of the day, Mrs. Johnson says she would most definitely be adding the field trip to next year's curriculum.

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WATE. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.