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Pondering water at Mequon campus

Jennie+Rojas%2C+School+of+Pre-College+Education+student%2C+skims+the+pond+in+search+of+organisms+at+the+Mequon+campus.
Jennie Rojas, School of Pre-College Education student, skims the pond in search of organisms at the Mequon campus.

Jennie Rojas, School of Pre-College Education student, skims the pond in search of organisms at the Mequon campus.

Photo by MEREDITH RICE

Photo by MEREDITH RICE

Jennie Rojas, School of Pre-College Education student, skims the pond in search of organisms at the Mequon campus.

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Students, with the guidance of their teacher, Janet Nortrom, tested the water from the pond located on MATC’s Mequon campus on April 5.

The students of Nortrom’s Reading/Communication pre-college class tested the water for dissolved oxygen and PH, acid/alkaline amounts, nitrates and total phosphates, and bacteria and living organisms.  Ducks and geese were observed swimming in the pond but no living organisms could be seen with a magnifying glass.

“All of the test results came back normal,” stated Nortrom. “The water is perfectly safe.” Tests were also conducted using PH color sticks that change with the acid/alkaline results. The acid/alkaline results of the water were compared with results of the same test using Coca-Cola.

Students were surprised to see how strong the acid in Coca-Cola is. “I know soda is bad for me but this is really going to make me think before I grab a Coke next time,” stated Jennie Rojas, one of Nortrom’s students. 

Photo by MEREDITH RICE
John Xiong, School of Pre-College Education student, uses a magnifying glass to look for living organisms in water extracted from Mequon’s pond.

Nortrom also stated that she and her students will be studying the water under a microscope on a later date to check for bacteria.

Nortrom came up with the idea of this service learning project while attending a week-long program at the UWM Great Lakes Water Institute, with MATC instructors and MPS teachers all geared to service learning.

Teachers from MATC and MPS will be offered this class again next summer. With some guidance from Kathy Bates, program coordinator and instructor of Environmental Health and Water Quality Technology, teachers have been reading articles and experimenting with water.

Nortrom also shares exploration and training experiences with her mentor, Julie Rock, who is a Mequon nursing instructor and former service learner.

Photo by MEREDITH RICE
Students use PH strips to compare the acidity levels between the pond water and Coca-Cola.

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Pondering water at Mequon campus