PSU seniors partner with LRMS students in environmental education capstone project

posted Mar 10, 2015, 11:31 AM by Tianna Hubbenette
Environmental education is taken to a new place, literally, as middle school students are taken outdoors to focus on key aspects of critical thinking, science inquiry and social responsibility.  

Students at Portland State University have partnered with Laurel Ridge Middle School to promote scientific literacy and inquiry into water quality.  For the past 10 weeks, the PSU students mentored the middle schoolers as they developed hypotheses and experiments, through observation of water environments at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge.  Portland State requires its students to take a Senior Capstone: a community service class that teaches them about ethics, communication, diversity, and critical thinking.  For their Senior Capstone, a class of 17 PSU students are studying the importance of scientific literacy and the methods to teach it.

Being one of the handful of wildlife refuges within an urban area, the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge gives opportunity to the middle school students to observe animals and the habitats they live in, naturally, and in their own community.  Working with the volunteers at the refuge and the PSU students to learn skills in how to observe nature, question their observations and become more aware of how their actions in day-to-day life can affect the streams, rivers and even oceans.

The middle school students created experiments, working with the PSU students, which dealt with water quality and invertebrate life in a pond and stream habitats on the refuge.  Presentations created by the students will be shown at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge on Thursday, March 12th at 1:00pm.  Everyone in the community is invited to come see the presentations, and in doing so, help encourage these students in their exploration of science and the nature that surrounds them.

For more information, please contact Angela Strecker (t: 503-725-2427, e: