Everglades Ecology Restoration Inspiring Science Education

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Title: Everglades Ecology Restoration Inspiring Science Education
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Giraud, Angelique
Publisher: New College of Florida
Place of Publication: Sarasota, Fla.
Creation Date: 2011
Publication Date: 2011


Subjects / Keywords: Everglades
K-12 Stem Education
Effective Teaching
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: The incorporation of environmental issues into classroom science education improves salience for students. Understanding scienceraises the quality of life for individual citizens and strengthens the U.S. as a whole (Augustine 2010). The sustainability of the earth is threatened by current habits and requires positive change through innovation and a common conscience. The concern for Everglades� ecology highlights this. A case study presented important scientific concepts through a focus on the Everglades to high school students in Sarasota. Data analyzed from student�s scores on a pre- and post-quiz were significant. This indicated that the methods used and discussed were successful and recommended for future use.
Statement of Responsibility: by Angelique Giraud
Thesis: Thesis (B.A.) -- New College of Florida, 2011
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The New College of Florida, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Local: Faculty Sponsor: Gilchrist, Sandra

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Source Institution: New College of Florida
Holding Location: New College of Florida
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Classification: local - S.T. 2011 G5
System ID: NCFE004500:00001

Permanent Link:

Material Information

Title: Everglades Ecology Restoration Inspiring Science Education
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Giraud, Angelique
Publisher: New College of Florida
Place of Publication: Sarasota, Fla.
Creation Date: 2011
Publication Date: 2011


Subjects / Keywords: Everglades
K-12 Stem Education
Effective Teaching
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: The incorporation of environmental issues into classroom science education improves salience for students. Understanding scienceraises the quality of life for individual citizens and strengthens the U.S. as a whole (Augustine 2010). The sustainability of the earth is threatened by current habits and requires positive change through innovation and a common conscience. The concern for Everglades� ecology highlights this. A case study presented important scientific concepts through a focus on the Everglades to high school students in Sarasota. Data analyzed from student�s scores on a pre- and post-quiz were significant. This indicated that the methods used and discussed were successful and recommended for future use.
Statement of Responsibility: by Angelique Giraud
Thesis: Thesis (B.A.) -- New College of Florida, 2011
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The New College of Florida, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Local: Faculty Sponsor: Gilchrist, Sandra

Record Information

Source Institution: New College of Florida
Holding Location: New College of Florida
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: local - S.T. 2011 G5
System ID: NCFE004500:00001

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Everglades Ecology Restoration Inspiring Science Education BY ANGELIQUE GIRAUD A Thesis Submitted to the Environmental Science Program New College of Florida In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree Bachelor of Arts Under the Sponsorship of Dr. Sandra Gilchrist Sarasota, Florida May 2011


For my Parents who are my greatest teachers


i Everglades Ecology Restoration Inspiring Science Education Table of Contents Table of Contents List of Figures List of Tables v i ii List of Acron ix Preface Chapter 1 : Literature Review A. Science Education B. Everglades Ecology and Restoration ... 21 Chapter 2 : Case Study of Everglades Ecology for High School 4 4 A. Materials and Methods .44 B. Results and Discussion 1 Afterword Appendix A : Pre quiz, P ost quiz, Answer keys, Homework 1 and H omework 2 8 8 Appendix B: Student Samples Pre and post quiz Homework 1 Homework 2 References 56


ii EVERGLADES ECOLOGY RESTORATION INSPIRING SCIENCE EDUCATION Angelique Giraud New College of Florida, 2011 ABSTRACT The incorporation of environmental issues into classroom science education improves salience for students Understanding scien ce raises the quality of life for individual citizens and strengthens the U.S. as a whole (Augustine 2010) The sustainability of the earth is threatened by current habits and requires positive change through innovation and a common conscience. The concern fo highlights this. A case study presented important scientific concepts through a focus on the Everglades to high school students in Sarasota on a pre and post quiz were significant This indicated that the method s used and discussed were successful and recommended for future use. Dr. Sandra Gilchrist Environmental Science Program


iii Acknowledgments I would like to thank the people who truly help me create my thesis Dr. Sandra Gilchrist, who helped me to realize my goals and keep me on track Dr. Margaret Lowman, for supported my interest in teaching science Dr. Elzie McCord, who took the time to help me polish my thesis My parents, who always let me figure things out on my own The teachers and students at Pend leton School and St. Stephens Episcopal School, who allowed me to share my knowledge and experiment on them


iv List of Figures Figure 1.1 23 Figure 1 .2 Map of the Everglades without Kissimmee Chain of Lakes Figure 1 .3 Flow blocked Figure 1 .4 Location of Everglades Skyway Figure 1 .5 Map of historic Everglades 6 Figure 1 .6 Wood Stork feeding with o pen beak Figure 1 .7 White Ibis wading Figure 1 .8 Man made canals with a distinct lack of aquatic vegetation Figure 1 .9 Wet prairie adjacent to sawgrass ridge Figure 1 .10 Original meandering Kissimmee River connected to a restored Floodplain Figure 1.11 Map of current Florida Everglades with distinct separations between areas of Figure 2.1 Sattelite image of Florida 48 Figure 2.2 Map of historic Everglades 49 Figure 2.3 I mage of change in elevation .49 Figure 2.4 A comparison of maps of the historic a 0 Figure 2.5 Map of Everglades land use labeled 51 Figure 2.6 ..51 Figure 2.7 Map of water flow Figure 2.8 Photo of wet prairie 53 Figure 2.9 Photo .53


v Figure 2. 10 Photo of floodplains created by Kissimmee River with channelized portion in back Figure 2.11 Figure 2.12 Photo of .56 Figure 2.13 56 Figure 2. 14 56 Figure 2.15 Figure 2.16 Phot o of Anhinga eating a fish Figure 2.17 ..57 Figure 2.18 .57 Figure 2.19 Canals throughout development Figure 2.20 Map of historic Everglades Figure 2.21 ..59 Figure 2.22 ..60 Figure 2.23 Figure 2.24 Photos of tract or praying farm 61 Figure 2.25 .61 Figure 2.26 Photo of plane spraying agricultural chemicals Figure 2.27 Figure 2.28 Photo of sawgrass Figure 2.29 Figure 2.30 62 Figure 2. 31 .63


vi Figure 2.32 Conceptual diagr 64 Figure 2.33 68 Figure 2.34 69 Figure 2.35 69 Figure 2. 36 70 Figure 2.37 70 Figure 2.38 70 Figure 2.39 Photo of large canal divided into three smaller canals 71 Figure 2.40 71 Figure 2.41 Aerial photo of Florida with arrows pointing to major flow from Lake 72 Figure 2.42 Figure 2.43 Figure 2.44 Figure 2.45 Figure 2.46 Figure 2. 47 .. Figure 2.48 Figure 2.49 Figure 2.50 Figure 2.51 Ph 75 Figure 2.52 75 Figu re 2.53 75


vii Figure 2.54 75 Figure 2.55 Recreational Figure 2.56 76 Figure 2.57 77 Figure 2.58 77 Figure 2.59 Photo of oy 77 Figure 2.60 77 Figure 2.61 Photo of algae 78 Figure 2.62 78 Figure 2.63 Lifeguard on duty during algae bloom 78 Figure 2.64 Warning for toxic algae blooms in St. Lucie Estuary 78 Figure 2.65 78 Figure 2.66 Photo of algae bloom 78 F igure 2.67 79 Figure 2.68 79 Fig ure 2.69 Cartoon of ecosystem services 79 Figure 2.70 Diagram of ecosystem services 79 Figure 2.71 Natural beauty of Everglades 80


viii L ist of Tables Table 1.1 Table 1.2 Effective Teaching Strategies and Descriptions Table 1.3 Common misconceptions of undergraduate students regarding carbon cyc le..10 Table 1.4 Summary of Restora Table 2.1 Results of statistical analysis of student scores on pre and post


ix List of Acronyms Science Education STEM Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics Everglades Ecology and Restoration ARM LNWR Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge CERP Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan EAA Everglades Agricultural Area ENP Everglades National Park SFWMD South Florida Water Management Distr ict STA Storm water Treatment Area USACE U.S. Army Corps of Engineers WCA Water Conservation Area


1 Preface Albert Einstein Growing up, I have always been fascinated by science. My personal motivation for learning science is unique. I cannot teach others to feel my awe inspired by atoms and evolution, but I can share my knowledge, and hope that my enthusiasm will be transferred. I know that this is possible because I was not always interested in learning ab out the environment. It was not immediately visible how nature was part of my life while I was learning science inside. Finally, like all scientists, an insightful experience with sea turtles changed the way I thought about nature. I felt that I was inde ed part of nature and this gave me a desire to understand the science of the environment. The environmental issues facing society must be addressed by changing the education of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in the U.S. Educati ng the public of the value of ecosystems and the services provided can promote understanding of the importance of natural areas which is not readily apparent. There are many different cases of ecosystem degradation, then slow realization that the local human environment is negatively affected as well. The Everglades have undergone permanent alterations, and are at a critical point. Restoration of the flow of water is necessary to maintain some ecological integrity, as well as accommodate the needs of the peop le living in South Florida.


2 To prevent irreversible damage to any ecosystem and the Earth as a whole, education must be used as protection. STEM education in the U.S. is also terminally fated if change is not made. As teachers are leaving the field withou t adequate replacements, students pursuing these fields are also dissipating. Increasing student interest can be done by making science relevant to them. M y person al experience s ha ve taught me that it can be difficult for students to understand how science is part of their lives when their only experience has been from text books. To create the necessary link between concepts and students, the use of real life problems are essential. Comprehension of environmental issues requires explanation of the science involved and can be altered to cover basic or in depth ideas. I created a lesson on Everglades ecology and restoration as a case study for teaching science through environmental issues to high school students. The lesson used well researched educational t echniques that foster high student achievement. Understanding of the importance of the Everglades and scientific concepts that are part of the Sunshine State Standards was measured with pre and post assessments. Student achievement indicated understanding of scientific concepts and the value provided by the Everglades to humans and to other adjacent ecosystems. Students may have difficulty in applying the idea that the services they receive from an ecosystem are also necessary functions for another ecosys tem. Exposure to many different environmental issues will aid the students in making these connections and recognize the scientific concepts that are also common. This will foster an environmental and scientific awareness that is essential to sustaining o ut society.


3 Chapter 1: Literature Review A. Environmental Science Education President Barrack Obama announced that the improvement of the U.S. Education system is a priority for the rest of his term in his second State of the Union Address ( of the union 2011 ). The President discussed the need to overhaul science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in k 12. Major advances by the United States of America throughout history are largely attributed to high standards placed on education (Atkinson and Blanpied 2008). There is a significant correlation between the amount of resources used for education and the overall success of the country. Historically, since the U.S. was first declared an independent country, the education system has been a leader among nations, producing more scholars and able minded people (Atkinson and Blanpied 2008; Augustine 2005) Unfortunately, this bragging right is no longer valid, putting the U.S. at a loss when compared with the rest of the world (Augustine 2005, 2010). G lobalization has created a new world market w ith th e use of information technology. As cheap labor can be found worldwide, competition has spread globally. This creates complications, as wealth is redistributed throughout many separate economies. To gain a competitive edge, the U.S. must ensure progr ess in STEM education, which will provide citizens with means for high quality jobs to compe te in the new global market. With this income inequality can be reduced. Higher income allows for greater tax revenues. By fortifying the education system the government can ensure a strong economy and a secure nation. The government will be more capable of


4 strengthening the healthcare system and promot ing research for clean, safe, sustainable, and affordable energy (Augustine 2005). Income inequality is at the highest point since the great depression. The cause of such economic dysfunction is rooted in th e education system (Kristof 2008) The U.S. is the only industrialized nation whose children are less likely to graduate than their parents. High quality jobs require that citizens have education of the same caliber. T he U.S. education system does not allo w a proportional amount of students to get the education in public school necessary for higher education, and this is true for STEM in particular (Freeman 2006). The lack of students pursuing STEM careers hinders the ability of U.S. to compete technologic ally (Freeman 2006) Government spending on energy research and development has decreased by almost $1 billion dollars since 1998, bringing total investments down to less than the amount consumers spend on potato chips (Nemet and Kammen 2007; Augustine 201 0). In this new, globalized world of information technology the U.S. is falling behind. Fewer students are pursuing STEM fields than ever before and furthermore, this is directly linked to the alarming attrition of adequately trained educators ( Ingersoll and Perda 2009, Darling Hammond 2007, Augustine 20 10). The National Science Board found in the biennial report of 2010 Science and Engineering Indicators that only 22% of participants were able to answer questions about the scientific method cor rectly ( National Science Board 2010 phide Branan 2010). In 1995 the U.S. ranked so low on the TIMSS


5 global assessment of advances math and science that they have chosen not to participate in the next version of the test (Mervis 2007). One major goal of ST EM education is creating scientifically literate students. Every citizen needs to have the skills necessary to understand scientific issues that our nation is facing. There is serious concern with the state of the biosphere Every ecosystem on Earth is fac ing change, many directly or indirectly caused by humans. Table 1.1 lists a few of the most important issues. Teaching science related to the earth is necessary and provides a critical link between scientific concepts and the lives of students. A ddressing climate change requires new innovations now The Will Steger Foundation has recognized this and they are working to use science education and policy Ecologi cal Issues Ecological Change Causes Issues associated with ecological change Climate Change Excess atmospheric greenhouse gases and aerosols from use of fossil fuels Melting of polar ice caps, sea level rise, mass extinction, ch ange in global temperatures, etc (Archer and Pierrehumbert 2011) Current mass extinction over historically small time scale Degradation and loss of habitat, climate change, invasive species, etc. Changing evolution, loss of productivity, loss of important species ( Novacek and Cleland 2001) Need for Alternative Energy Source Finite supply of fossil fuels, limited use of renewable energy sources, pollution caused by use of fossil fuels Dependence of US on foreign fossil fuels, renewable energy sources are necessary for future generations and may take that long to develop (Dresselhaus and Thomas 2001) Table 1.1 Environmental issues, causes, and problems associated with each. Strengthening STEM education will aid in addressing ecological issues.


6 to change the direction of carbon emissions. Fascinating accounts of the effects of climate change are used to ins pire students and work toward their goals ( ). Although teachers may be aware of or have their own insightful experiences to share, they still must present that in a meaningfu l way. T eachers must be provided with t ools to educate students in the sciences Many studies have focused on qualities of teachers that foster hi gh student achievement. Table 1.2 shows the results of a meta analysis of teaching strategies that foster higher students achievement in science than t raditional methods, which Schroeder and colleagues (2007) dominated instructio n with pass 1444). Repeatedly the most important factor predicting success of student s is the quality of the teacher proficiency and method of teaching (Clotfelter and others 2009; Augustine 2010). The ability to teach in a s alient way is subject material as well as how they present the information to students (Kulka Acevedo 2007) More thorough understanding of a subject allows the teacher to present the most relevant information thr ough the most appropriate means ( Dee and Cohodes 2008; Augustine 2010 ). Not all teaching methods, ideologies and pedagogies are equal. Various researchers examine methods of teaching based on different schools of thought. Many useful methods that show inc reased student learning have common features b etween them, which indicate that there are indeed best practices that ought to be used in classrooms (Schroeder and others 2007).


7 All of the methods of best practice involve the use of scientific method as the foundation of the lesson plan. The reason that science is so valuable is because the scientific method has a built in mechanism that is self correcting, nothing is ever assumed to be completely true. When present ing any scientific subject it is necessary to first find out what stud ents know about the subject similarly the first step in any scientific study is to find out what has already been researched. This is important to avoid redundancy and serves to make c onnection between previous and current research. In the same way it is Effective Teaching Strategies and Descriptions Teaching Strategy Description Enhanced Context Strategies Relating topic to known experience or understanding and increasing student interest ( ie: taking field trips, performing experiments) Collaborative Learning Strategies Mixed group projects and research projects Questioning Strategies Questioning students at opportune moments throughout the class (ie: thought provoking questions at the start of class or during lecture) Inquiry Strategies Students lead discussion by answering research questions Manipulation Strat egies Students physically work with objects Assessment Strategies Vary the frequency, difficulty, or point of assessments Instructional Technology Strategies Use of computers for modeling, photos or diagrams Enhanced Material Strategies Teachers alter i nstructional materials for simplicity or to provide more explanation Table 1.2 Teaching strategies with description from Schroeder and others 2007 p. 1445 6, 1452. These can overlap and are meant to be used together.


8 current understandings of specific scientific topics and build from that knowledg e (Ebert May and oth ers 2004). The goal of science education is to produce scientifically literate students. This leads to an insightful comparison. Science should be treated as learning a language. Student s should not be expected to understand science if they do not understand the language of science. W hen learning to speak French you must first understand contextual clues. Many words in the French language have different meanings when used with other words and to understand French truly, or any other language, there must be total immersion. The language must be practiced constantly to allow for fluency of thought in the language. In the same way students must be immersed in science. The first step of the s cientific method in our educational experiment is to find out what students know about science and use that as scaffolding. One of the major problems of teaching science is that there is more to it than merely repeating facts read from a book. Science in a nd of itself is dynamic and requires explanation from the current perspective of the student. Out of context, many scientific concepts appear meaningless, but when applied to a specific situation can become relevant and useful. For example, when discussing nutrient cycling it would be meaningless to begin the discussion without a frame of reference. Explanation of phosphorus as a key nutrient to help plants grow is important to understand, but how phosphorus can act as a pollutant makes the explanation


9 of p hosphorus cycling dynamic in nature. This is the key to salient education of scientific material. Although these contextual ideas are helpful and necessary, students will not likely develop an interest in science if they do not have the words to describe s cience accurately. Providing the language resources can allow students to feel that they are part of the scientific world. The best results are produced when concepts are taught without the specialized language. The most salient way to teach science is to find out what students current ideas about the concept are and then to allow them to use the words they do have to describe their thoughts and correct or affirm the scientific concept at hand. At this point students are able to learn the technical terms an d describe their new understanding of the concept (Brown and others 2010, Pearson 2010). The Ecological Society of America provides many lesson plans on specific topics on their website, One of their pieces on climate change first provides activities to find out what the students know. The authors suggest that at the end of the class period, present the students with a short followed by a short explanation and a reading assignment to get the students engaged in the train of thought. The lesson can be adjusted to begin from what the students understand (Ebert May and others 2004). Many students and teachers for that matter, hol d certain misconceptions about science. Table 1.3 lists some common misconceptions undergraduate students have. It is necessary to identify these ideas and recognize the error, then fill in gaps with new


10 correct information. This theory is ancient in origi n, with some of the first discussions identified by Galileo. Unfortunately, it is an underused method. Many students have fundamental misconceptions about important scientific ideas, from photosynthesis and respiration to laws of energy and motion. Underst anding is often impeded by the failure to build from the roots of these misconceptions students will not be able to think like scientists. They will lack the fundamental tools to make th e necessary connections between laws and Disproving student misconceptions is best done by the students themselves. Much research focuses on methods that teach students how to organize their thoughts to learn how to recognize mistakes in their logic, and to better understand new information. Piaget (2003) first developed the notion of a schema, in which students utilize a cognitive structure by recognizing similar attributes between w hat they know and what they do no t know (Piaget 1964 phide 003). To understand the operational structures of how children synthesize numbers and size, Piaget (1964) used a simple example with Common misconceptions of undergraduate students regarding carbon cycle (Beedlow and others 2004 phide Ebert May and others 2004) Global warming will make all parts of the earth warmer Increased CO 2 will always increase productivity The largest pools of carbon are on land and in living organisms Plant cells do not undergo respiration; only animal cells respire Table 1.3 Table of common misconceptions held by undergraduate students


11 tokens. Seven red tokens would be placed in a row on a table and a child would be asked to lay down the same number of blue tokens right next to each red one, then the blue tokens would be spread out. Before the age of seven or eight the child will say that there are now more blue tokens Then you may have them count the tokens again and confirm that there are indeed the sam e number of blue and red tokens If you repeat the experiment with the same child two weeks later they will continue to believe that there will be more blue tokens when they are spread out; their understanding is not lastin g. When a child discovers, on his or her own, the insight that the number of tokens does not change with the amount of space they take up, the child will retain that understanding for the rest of their lives. While Piaget (1964) refers to specific stages of cognitive development, his theor y is helpful when applied to science education. A student can assimilate new material better by being taught how to recognize important similarities between what is already known and prevents confusion by irrelevant associations. When studying ecosystems, recognizing estuaries and the open ocean as similar because they both have salt water would be a casual commonality between them, but it would be more accurate to compare ecosystems based on biodiversity, where the open ocean is similar to a desert and an estuary to a rainforest. Students have the ability to recognize how they organize their thoughts. This can be taught directly by providing self explaining and self questioning techniques (Wong 1985; Sern 2010). Admitting what they know and do no t know leaves a space to fill in the gap. This method also aids the student in gaining an intrinsic desire to learn the


12 information gaps then fixing and filling them, connections made a re much stronger than if they were simply just told. This is where the roots of inquiry based teaching are founded (Sandoval 2003). Scientifically literate students need to have experience in creating appropriate questions for all scientific concepts (Fort us and others 2005). Asking questions indicates interest. S cientific inquiry can be fostered in a classroom by using various methods that allow students to explore concepts, which are promot es science (Langley 2009). The goal of improving science education requires that this motivation be cultivated. Student feelings of a subject affect t heir understanding and this can be directly understan ding and focus and even negative attitude toward science and math discourages students from succeeding in those courses and thus from pursuing the subject A teacher who has a positive attitude toward the subject can inspire intrinsic motivation in studen ts, which allows students to voluntarily engage in any subject (Augustine 2005) While there are endless methods that prove to be useful, some examples can be usefully applied to many different lessons and all have the common factor of increasing student interest. Schoen and others (2003 ) compared the quality of different lessons provided by teachers. Some of the methods associated with higher student achievement promote understanding of the larger mathematical and scientific c oncepts. To encourage student understanding of fundament al concepts, certain methods were found to be more


13 successful. Allowing the students to work in small groups or pairs gives them the means to collaborate and investigate from different viewpoints, as compared to the limited persp ective of only teacher presentations (Looi and others 2010) understand science encourages those students that may be less interested. Baines and Slutsky (2009) studied the effects of play in academic development. Student achieveme nt was compared between 30 countries with no correlation found school claim that their mai n reason was boredom in school (Baines and Slutsky 2009) Many of the required standardized tests force teachers to focus too heavily on teaching just for these exams, leaving students without means for socia l and psychological development The Florida Com prehensive Achievement Test (FCAT) is administered to students in public schools. The scores the students earn also determine an overall grade for the school. Among students with low achievement scores, there is a relationship titude toward the FCAT and their scores (Janicke and Harrell 2007). human development, has been shown to affect creativity, cooperation, openness, and 2004 phide Baines and Slutsky 2009). Baines and Slutsky (2009) cite an excellent example where allowing students to play fundamentally enhanced their motivation and their achievement:


14 One teacher in Florida had great difficulties getting his students to learn vocabulary. He tried coercion, bribery, and frequent repetition. Nothing worked. His students not only continued to fail their vocabulary exams but also learned to teams of students competed against one another in the mode of a television game grades crept into the A and B range, a nd the classroom began percolating with intensity and laughter. Early one morning, an assistant principal caught students some prodding, the students confessed that they had been trying to obtain the latest list of vocabulary words. Imagine. One day, you might think students could not care less about vocabulary that they will never learn any new words; a few weeks later, students start showing up unannounced an hour before th e morning bell just to get their hands on the latest list. The difference in student attitudes and performance can be attributed to a single strategy turning the study of vo cabulary into play ( p. 99 100 ). This example highlights the positive effects of achievement. Motivated teachers produce motivated students. Personal involvement in the subject allows students to focus (Diamond and others 2007). The method of assessment is also an important factor in student a chievement (Schoen and others 2003). S tudent achievement was found to be higher when a variety of grading was used. Individual student interviews proved especially successful for accurate assessment T he focus of grading is also important. Higher achieveme nt was seen when d less on attendance and effort ( Chun 2010 ). This allows students to monitor their own success and strive to gain conceptual understanding of subject materia l. The purpose of assessment is to measure the educational success of students When a scientist conducts a study he or she is aiming to discover the method that will yield the best results. To increase the likelihood of significance in the data obtained, the


15 scientists have more than one attempt. In fact the reliability of a study depends on the should be measured in a variety of ways. A few multiple choice question s are appropriate for quick checks on information gaps, for conceptual assessment free response questions are better suited Freedom of expression with concepts maps gives the students the chance to make connections between different ideas that are related (Hodder and others 2004). To identify if the student has a firm grasp of the material present a real world problem that addresses the topic (Fortus and others 2005). Students can prove their reasoning by using the scientific method to come up with a way t o solve the issue (McEntire 2011). Critical thinking skills are necessary to analyze scientific concepts and throughout life The Internet provides an essential resource to students and teachers as 99% of public schools have Internet access (Ku iper 2005 ). Teachers must assist in the ). Information literacy involves the conceptual understanding of the information found on the Internet. T he Web can be us ed as an inquiry based educational tool, by providing almost unlimited information (Jonassen and others 1999; Gerjets and Hellenthal Schorr 2008) Teachers should educate students on how to search by using strategic techniques and how to evaluate the rel iability of any information (Laxman 2010) Research should be coordinated between the students and teacher with a strong focus on the process of learning in the specific field of study


16 ( Jonassen and others 1999; Kuiper 2005). The benefits p rovided by the internet can be limited by t he technical knowledge of teachers. (National Center fo r Education Statistics [NCES] 2 002 phide Kuiper 2005 ). Although students, in general, may have more experience using the Internet, they may lack the intellect ual tools to use the information they gather as a meaningful learning experience (Lin and Hsieh 2001). (McMillan and Reed 1994). While the method of teaching is a large influenc e, there are other factors that can interfere with even the best lesson. It is clear that economic inequality affects th e type of schooling, as well as student home life I ntrinsic desire to learn requires that the basic needs of students are met. Everyone needs nouri shing food, shelter and comfortable clothes to survive. While at school shelter is provided and clothes are required. Although food is supplied at school, students need more than two meals and some students do not even get that Looking closely the effects of a lack of access to healthy food are obvious, but can be misinterpreted. Previous research has found that children who were hungry were judged to be twice as likely to have impaired functioning, and had higher levels of teacher reported h yperactivity, absenteeism, and tardiness (Sweeny 2006; Florence and others 2008) Hungry students were more likely to see a psychologist, repeat a grade, have difficulty getting along with peers, as well as more chronic illness and parent reported anxiety An important finding also reveals the need for proper nourishment as hungry students have significantly lower arithmetic scores (Murphy and others 1998)


17 Sweeny (2006) studied the effects of implementing a midmorning nutrition break into the school schedu le. It was found that 40 50% less time was spent on discipline. A 16% increase in math scores was seen in one school and a 10% increase in math and reading scores in a different school (Sweeny 2006) As the number of students who took part in the midmornin g nutrition break increased, there were fewer students experiencing hunger associated symptoms, which include the inability to focus, tiredness, stomachache, headache, and midmorning hunger. Hunger is a serious and devastating fact. Education in k 12 is compulsory and necessary to life in this generation. To ensure students are getting the education that tax payers are supplying, their basic needs must also be met Motivating hungry students to learn science is difficult. Growing Power, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that began as a way to give students work and provide food for them. Will Allen creat ed this project to make sustainable ways to grow food locally in all communities Many diffe rent people are able to participate in creating and maintaining food systems locally ( ) This organization recognizes the need to feed youth in lower socio economic communities and pr ovide them with a means to explore scientific concepts first hand. Environmental issues make educational reform of science curricula necessary. Understanding of environmental concerns requires a new approach to scie nce education, and as it is clea r that th e current methods are not su ccessful in creating scientists. I ncorporating environmental perspec tives will provide scaffolding to create a new standard on which teachers ca n use as a goal for science understand ing Environmental


18 issues are complex and do not have a single voice. What is best for the environment is not always clearly defined. This makes it even more important to educate students with scientific environmental issues. T he first step in the scientific method will pro duce different results de pending on who you ask Underprivileged people with less formal education will approach an environmental issue differently than someone who is well versed in the science (Farzin and Bond 2005). Also, the fact that environmental is sues are directly related to a place may cause someone who does not live near that place to have different understandings than someone who is near. The importance of ecosystem services such as recreational use or aesthetic beauty of a natural area is best understood by having the personal experience of these facets o f an environmental issue. This illuminates the importance of teaching the local environmental science. The value of a local natural area can then be translated to other unknown place s. Thus, th e goal of educating someone on an environmental issue needs to be thoroughly founded in what is already relevant to the student. T his is the importance of the scientific method. The goal of any lesson is to teach students to always ask the mo st appropriate question, as a scientist would (Jenkins 2003, Wilson and others 2010, Hall and others 2010). Urban ecology provides students with real local environmental issues. Humans are very much a part of the ecology of their ecosystems and it would not do justice to science to ignore this important role. Students must learn about their surroundings and


19 recognize the similarities between a natural area and the paved urban city, suburbia or rural area that is familiar to them. In the same vein, it is important to le arn about what is going on currently in science. New research at colleges and universities needs to be understood by the public. Researchers must be able to communicate their work through outreach projects. Scientists have a passion for their work that med ia lacks. Translations of technical studies by media personnel who are not as fluent often lose the meaning of the science (Nadkarni 2004). Bringing in new perspectives and innovative ideas science outreach For this reason it is proposed that scientists a nd graduate students ought to be required to collaborate with public schools either directly or by making materials for classroom u s e Their laborator y and field work should be shared with future scientists (Nadkarni 2004; Augustine 2005). Higher educatio n provides the opportunity for novel research Pursuing a graduate degree is a unique opportunity and those who earn degrees can be l eaders in their field. This position comes with considerable responsibilities to share knowledge effectively (Clark 2000). Future success of the U.S. will be determined by improvement of STEM education Globalization highlights the need for local science innovation especially environmentally oriented discoveries (Buttel 1990; Lubchenco 1998). This new trajectory requires a ch ange in the way students are educated as c urrent methods are not producing scientifically literate students. R eal world examples taught by knowledgeable teachers will inspires intrinsic motivation in students, which is the key component to increasing the number of students pursuing STEM careers.


20 I propose the idea that local environmental issues can provide excellent resources to bring real science into classrooms to engage students. Extensive scientific research has been done on the Florida Everglades, a nd is currently the largest ecosystem restoration project in the world (Grunwald 2006) To demonstrate the educational strategies and techniques discussed, I have created a lesson on Everglades ecology and restoration presented as a case study to high scho ol students in Sarasota, Florida.


21 Chapter 1: Literature Review B Everglades Ecology and Restoration In 2010, judges Gold and Moreno found the heads of federal and state environmental agencies guilty of neglect in follow ing standards set by the Clean Water Act of 1972 (Stapleton 2010) The administrators of the US Environmental Protection Agency and the South Florida Water Management District were questioned about the lack of movement to address restoration of the Everglades. Nutrient pollu tion is a direct result of alteration of the flow of water in the Everglades and has caused numerous ecological disasters from devastating muck fires and massive stands of invasive species to the decrease of ecologically important species and loss of clean drinking water for South Florida (Grunwald 2006) An entirely new approach to water management is The original water quality lawsuit began in 1988 and after three years and o plan to clean the water. agreed on a restoration plan The original drainage of the Everglades was the largest water alteration project in hi story, accordingly the restoration project would also need a considerable nutrient removal effort (Grunwald 2006). Driven by many complex factors, the deterioration of the Everglades ecosystem is not easily reversed. The historic Everglades, before drainag stretched from the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes to the Florida Bay with a 48km wide path,


22 making up nearly one third of Florida Now the Everglades are divided by development and agricultue into separate habitats of the Kissimmee area, Lake Okeechobee, the three water conservation areas Holey Land, Rotenburg and the Everglades National Park ( figures 1 .1 and 1 .2 ) The once continuous ecosystem is now a series of separate habitats defined by roads, dikes, and levees connected by canals The manmade changes have negatively affected the entire Everglades ecosystem. To understand the current ecological restoration of t he Everglades, the major problems and their causes must be examined from the beginning. Early development and agriculture were the driving factors for serious modification of the flow of water. The initial act leading to draining of the Everglades happene d in 1881, whe re 12 million acres of the Everglades land was given to Hamilton Disston to reclaim (Grunwald 2006) While he did not succeed in draining all of the land that he had agreed to, he did drain more than 80,000 acres in the Kissimmee basin. Henry Flagler brought railroads to the Atlantic Coastal Ridge and drained the eastern edge of the Everglades. After that more drainage of the Everglades was inevitable, but the Everglades did put up a fight as L ake Okeechobee continued to flood the southern p art of the Everglades (Grunwald 2006). Napoleon Broward and other investors effectively drained large portions of the Everglades by dredging canals. Many northerners began moving south and farmers discovered the unusually fertile land south of Lake Okeecho bee. This area was promptly drained for farming and is now known as the Everglades Agricultural Area. The population of humans in the Everglades increased drastically, while population of native


23 species began to decline (Grunwald 2006) People hunted much of the wildlife, especially wading birds, so tha t along with habitat loss, population decreased by 75 to 90% during the (Grunwald 2006). Natural rivers and wetlands that flowed lazily into the Atlantic Ocean were converted into sewer like canals (Toth and others 1998) Quickly it became clear that draining the Everglades completely altered the once pristine ecosystem (Light and Dineen 1994). Figure 1 .1 Map of the Everglades http://www.florida backroads everglades.html Figure 1 .2 Map of the Everglades without Kissimmee Chain of Lakes raphy.htm


24 Despite obvious problems associated with development and agriculture, people would not be deterred from reclaiming the Everglades The flow of the Everglades was recognized, but the intrinsic importance of the ecosystem and its benefit s to humans were not understood. The building of Tamiami Trail in 1910 (Grunwald 2006) was recognized by the Governor of Florida to effectively serve as a dam in the middle of the Everglades. The economic incentive for development was so strong, his warning were ignored (Fling and others 2004). Figure 1.3 shows an aerial view of Water C onservation Area T hree on the left, which is flooded while the Everglades National Park on the right seems to be in a drought Current restorations efforts have succeeded in beginning to build s ix miles of Figure 1 .3 Flow blocked; WCA3 flooded on left of Tamiami Trail, ENP dried out on right (Fling and others 2009) Figure 1 .4 Location of Everglades Skyway .htm


25 skyway to Tamiami Trail to increase the flow of water from Water Conservation Area Three to Everglades National Park. The location of th e skyway can be seen in figure 1 4 In 1947 and 1948 hurricanes caused massive flooding For people to continue to live on the land that was once a wetland, it became necessary to build a giant levee Herbert Hoover Dike, around Lake Okeechobee and another leve e on the east coast to protect nearby cities and the Everglades Agricultural Area. This damaged almost 15,000 square kilometers of the Everglades ecosystem (Lord 1993 phide Fling and others 2004). This change in water flow has had many effects on the Everglades ecosystem. Apart from habitat loss, the biodiversity of the ecosystem was negatively affected by the change in the type of landscape available and the qual ity and distribution of the water throughout the year. Historically, the land south of Lake Okeechobee was almost entirely sawgrass plains as seen in figure 1 .5 (Willard and others 2004). Further south, the land morp hed into ridge and slough system s with tree islands, which made up the majority of the Everglades. There are a few logical theories about how the ridge and slough landscape formed. From the Kissimmee basin to the Florida Bay the there is a decrease in elevation. The land slopes down slightly about four and a half centimeters per kilometer (Olmsted and Armentano 1997 phide Deng and others 2010) Water traveled south at a rate of 34m per day and was usually 15 cm deep. The shape of the tree islands, ridges and sloughs as longer teardrop shape fro m north to south and narrow east to west width indicates that the flow of water across the state created this patterned landscape. The rate of decomposition was o ne mechanism that maintained the ridge and slough landscape Decomposition in a


26 slough takes a few months, whereas on the ridge it can take over a year allowing more organic matter to build up The sawgrass ridges are areas of land that are higher than the sloughs making the water level very shallow. Ridges do not have much biodiversity with sawgrass being the main vegetation, animals do not tend to hunt, forage or live in them. The sloughs on the other hand are deeper and support a greater variety of vegetation and wildlife including water lilies, spikerush ( Eleocharis sp), beakrush ( Rhynchospora sp.) and fish, turtles, a lligators and wading birds (Fling and others 2004). It was immediately realized that the biodiversi ty of the Everglades is dependent on the quality of the sloughs. Figure 1 .5 Map of historic Everglades. Water flowed in a forty eight kilometer wide path out of Lake Okeechobee.


27 As the water was blocked by dams, dikes, and levees the ridge and slough pattern began to disappear. Instead of distinct separations between deep sloughs and shallow ridges, sawgrass began t o creep down where the water lilies, beakrush and other slough species began to die off in overdrained areas. In many parts of the Everglades there is no longer a true ridge and slough system, but indistinguishable shallow and higher sawgrass ridges (Fling and others 2004). The change in landscape had the effect of limiting the areas for fish to gather in during the dry season. Investigations of the breeding habits of wading birds were prompted by the large decrease s in their populations in (Frederick and others 2009). Wading birds were an integral part of the ecosystem and without them the Everglades would not be a functional wetland. Wading birds provide the function redistributing large quantities of nutrients, which is v ital for the growth of tree islands as the Everglades are naturally a nutrient poor ecosystem (Frederick and others 2009). Wh ile all wading birds have seen decrease s in population, some were affected more than others. Wading birds have several techniques f or catching fish. Wood Storks and White Ibis (figure 1 .6 and 1 7 ) are tactile feeders and catch prey by feeling around in the water with open beak s and quic kly close their beaks to catch fish T hi s is the fastest known animal reflex These tactile feeders can only hunt in sh allow water that is no more than 25cm deep while wading birds that feed by sight can feed in water from 40 45cm deep (Kushlan 1986; Frederick and others 2009 ). Presently, wading birds that feed by sight have higher populations than tactile feeders. The shallow range that is ideal for the latter,


28 concentrates the fish. Wood Stork s will not hunt in deeper water because they would have to spend more energy than the fish provide (Frederick and others 2009). During the dry season Everglades sloughs slowly dry up leaving shallow pools of water with about 600 fish per square meter (Grunwald 2006) This was the time of the Wood Stork breeding season. They require high concentrations of fish to feed fledglings. This is the driving factor determining the success of the species. Wood Storks are known to travel long distances, 30 60km to find food ( Frederick and others 2009 ) If they cannot find enough food they w ill travel further and this cause s them to abandon their nest, leaving their chicks to die W ithout su itable habitat they may not attempt to nest in these cases (Frederick and Collopy 1989). The tactile hunting technique is uniquely Figure 1 .6 Wood Stork feeding with open beak 5054537985/ Figure 1 .7 White Ibis wading h east/florida everglades 00400000058283/page2.html


29 suited for the original Everglades habitat. Humans have altered the flow of water in the Everglades so that the d ry season does not dependably supply high concentrations of fish ( DeAngelis and others 1998; Frederick and others 2009). In 1978 the lowest recorded population of wood storks was at 2,500 pairs. The decline in population was ultimately caused by the change in landscape. This prompted the Wood Stork to be put on the endangered species list along with other birds and was a driving factor in the creation of the Everglades National Park (Fling and others 2004). Wading birds represent one of the most unique fea tures of the Everglades This unique aesthetic drew the attention of wildlife viewers from all over, including Marjory Stoneman Douglas who wrote numerous pieces describing the Everglades as a natural treasure Her works were inspirational and brought att ention during the creation of the Everglades National Park. Douglas was able to help protect wading bird populations in the Everglades and formed the Friends of the Everglades Foundation continuing her goals of restoration (Davis 2009) Due to habitat p rotection and increased awareness, Wood Stork populations have ( Frederick and others 2009 ) Their current population has not reached near their pre drainage numbers and need their breeding habitat to be protected and restored. The first stages of l arge restoration projects have recently been implemented The goal of these plans center around improved flow of high quality water througho ut the Everglades. Repopulation of Wood Storks will indicate s uccess of these efforts ( Bancroft and others 2002; Frederick and others 2009).


30 Wading birds are not the only species that are negatively affected by anthropogenic influence on the Everglades. T he presence of alligator holes has also decreased due to the modifications of water flow (Fling and others 2004). Alligator holes were abundant t hroughout the southern and central portion of the Everglades that was characterized by the ridge and slough lan dscape. Alligators scratch and dig deep holes in the water. During droughts these holes serve as vital habitat for fish, snakes, turtles and other fresh water species. They are also useful fishing spots for wading birds ( Kushlan 1974; Fling and others 2004 ). T o aid in the population growth of these birds, the flow of the water must be brought back to a regime similar to that of the historic floodplains. While some areas of the Everglades are underdrained, other areas are overdrained (Fling and others 2004) Severe drought in areas that historically have yearlong hydroperiods causes air to permeate the soil. The lack of air in the soil is a defining characteristic in the Everglades. Moisture content of the soil decreases as it is exposed to air during a drou ght and causes a change in the nutrients. When this normally wet soil is allowed to dry out for an extended period of time it oxidizes and is converted from anaerobic to aerobic conditions. In this condition the soil cannot hold moisture (Leeds and others 2009). During severe droughts, there is a dangerous threat of peat fires. Although the Everglades ecosystem is prone to seasonal fires, peat fires are historically uncommon. Wetland soil fires burn hotter and longer and have far reaching imp acts on the hab itat (Smith and others 2003). Flora species have evolved for specific habitat qualities. One of the main problems affecting the quality of water in the Everglades is nutrient pollution. Runoff


31 from development and agriculture has drastically increased the amount of phosphorus and other nutrients in the water (Davis 1994) Serious changes to the distribution of vegetation have occurred as a result. Many native Everglades species have evolved to grow with very little nutrients. Phosphorus is a limiting nutri ent in the Everglades eco system (Davis 1994; Craft 1995; McCormick and others 1996) T he distribution of flora species is negatively affected by the smallest unnatural amount of phosphorus available in the water The Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge (ARM LNWR) is directly south of the Everglades Agricultural Area. The water from agricultural runoff is transported through a system of canals to the Refuge. This water is around 200 parts per billion of phosphorus (Grunwald 2006) Best ma nagement practices have been put in place to decrease the phosphorus load entering the Everglades. Studies have found 10 parts per billion would allow for healthy species distributions ( McCormick and others 1996; Grunwald 2006) C areful inspection of the s mallest living part of the ecosystem reveals an imminent biodiversity disaster, due to poor water quality Periphyton are communities of floating plants, algae, cyanobacteria, microorganisms and decaying material. They represent half of the base of the food chain as primary producers (Ewe and others 2006 phide Gaiser 2009) for small aquatic animals such as shrimp, small fish, crayfish, etc. Periphyton can be used as an indicator to the quality of the water by responding to nutrient pollution in just days to weeks. By recognizing a lack of healthy periphyton communities the biodiversity of the local and distant ecosystem


32 will begin to decline. Recognition of the sensitivity that periphyton has to changing water quality will allow for faster ma nagement of the ecosystem. By monitoring total phosphorus in periphyton communities, more serious ecolog ical problems can be detected. P eriphyton are affected by high phosphorus concentrations and change in water level, the animals that feed on them lose h igh quality food. This results in consumers like wading birds, alligators and larger fish also have less lower quality food Higher phosphorus levels cause different plants to grow in higher dens ity Cattails are notorious for displacing s awgrass communit ies and do not provide adequate habitat for wildlife (Gaiser 2009). Periphyton are recognized as good indicators for high phosphorus concentrations in the water as phosphorus absorption is rapid (Dodds 2003). In high quality water, periphyton form mats th at allow for grazing by first order consumers. High nutrient water changes important characteristics and functions of the periphyton causing the mats to disintegrate. Thus, consumer food source are not readily available; therefore, animals require more ene rgy (Gaiser 2009). Assessment of nutrient load in periphyton indicates an increase in phosphorus content with proximity of the sample location to the canals that connect the separate parts of the Everglades ( McCormick and others 1996; Gaiser 2009). The ha bitat provided by canals is extremely different from that of the original wetland. Some of the visible dif ferences can be seen in figure 1 8 1 9 and 1 10 Water flowed downhill very slowly. Through evolution in an oligotrophic ecosystem, the Everglades flora species were able


33 Figure 1 .8 Man made canals with a distinct lack of aquatic vegetation Figure 1 .9 Wet prairie adjacent to sawgrass ridge http://leefoster.photoshelter .com/gallery image/Everglades/G0000jDtboDsMdLI/I000071BtyAIJEsc Figure 1 .10 Original meandering Kissimmee River connected to a restored floodplain 180/index.html


34 to efficiently to use the nutrients in s low moving water. C anals are too deep and water moves too quickly for most of the natural Everglades vegetation. N ative animals do not have suitable habitat w ithout plants C anal water is pumped very quickly to its destination First, i t is necessary to discover where the water is coming from (Frederick and others 2009) The Kissimmee basin has long been used for raising catt le. The Kissimmee River meanders f rom the Orlando area to Lake Okeechobee. Often it overflows and creates adjacent wetland ec osystems that provide storm and drought protection, nutrient removal and gas regulation converted from a w ide wandering water way and biodiverse wetland to a deep, straight and lifeless river (Grunwald 2006). This had many unintended consequences Either directly or through a series of canals, ranchlands were connected to the Kissimmee River. Runoff from these ranchlands goes directly into the river water, which then is transported to Lake Okeechobee. There, the wate r is used for agriculture and local cities. Water applied to the Everglades Agricultural A rea runs off into the canals that connect the entire ecosystem of south Florida. So far, pollution from development, agriculture and ranchlands has had the opportunity to enter the water. C anals also bring water to the natural and protected areas. Finally Water Conservation Areas 1, 2, and 3, and the Everglades National Park receive their share of the water, figure 1.11 With these non point sources of pollution, this is the first time in the system that nature is able to perform the necessary and free fu nction of cleaning the water. Just by letting the water slowly move through the ecosystem clean water can be


35 created for use by plants and animals, including humans. The wetland s provide necessary functions, w ithout them, humans would have to spend an inordinate amount of money for disturbance regulation (flood and drought control), pollution control (ie; removal of Figure 1.11 Map of current Florida Everglades with distinct separations between areas of different land use /NRC_2001/NRC.shtml


36 p hosphorus), gas regulation, food production, wildlife habitat, water regu lation and supply, raw materials, recreation and cultural value (Costanza and others 1997). Immediately, the water that enters the Everglades natural areas is high in nutrients and other pollutants This is the source of uneven species distribution. Plants that are able to use up the excess nutrients grow in abundance, while those that cannot are outcompeted for space and sunlight. Moving further into the natural area, the water is cleaner with fewer nutrients. Overall, vegetation becomes less dense and the species distribution returns slowly to the natural state (Gaiser 2009). Often, the nutrient load in the water is so high that uneven species distribution spreads throughout large portions of the natural area. Cattails and other invasive and non native spe cies become extremely dense. This crowded environment it not suitable for most aquatic animals. Comparison of the historic and the present day the land area of the Everglades reveals the major problem that the South Florida Water Management District and U. S. Army Corps must address. The amount of land that used to be filled with water is tens of thousands of acres smaller. That land is now either devoted to agricultural or urban use, which have strict water storage capacities. During summer months the exces s water must be moved somewhere. Lake Okeechobee has strict guidelines for the water level. Above fourteen feet, there is serious threat to humans and farms surrounding the Lake, as well as the plants that grow in the lake. Water must be pumped out away fr om Lake Okeechobee to prevent flooding of urban areas. The C 11 canal pumps water directly from the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) right to the Water Conservation Area 1, the ARM Loxahatchee National Wildlife


37 Refuge. Also under the Clean Water Act, th e Miccosukee filed a lawsuit requiring that water not be pumped into the natural areas without a permit. It was recognized that the high levels of phosphorus in the water from the EAA cause s negative changes in the make up of vegetation (Delaney 2003). Du ring the wet season, water is forced to areas that are historically rarely or never connected to Lake Okeechobee (Steinman and Rosen 2000). Occasionally, water from the lake would overflow and connect with the Caloosahatchee River, where it would empty int o the Gulf of Mexico. The St. Lucie River historically did not receive water from Lake Okeechobee during any time of the year. The St. Lucie Canal, also known as the C 2000; Mar zulla 2005 ). Water from Lake Okeechobee flows through the St. Lucie Canal and meets with the St. Lucie River, then out into the St. Lucie Estuary, which connects with the Indian River Lagoon. Before a hurricane or during a particularly wet rainy season, water is pumped quickly through these canals into fragile extremely biodiverse estuaries (Marzulla 2005) The St. Lucie estuary is the most diverse in North America, providing unique nursery habitat for marine animals (Steinman and Rosen 2000) Nurseries near shore are important for maintaining adult fish populations off shore. These habitats rely on a delicate balance of clean fresh water and salty water. Large fresh water releases from Lake Okeechob ee alter this balance. The fresh water also has excess nutrients and toxic pollutants. Along with disturbing the salinity balance, the fresh water releases increase sedimentation and turbidity, which affects the amount of photosynthetically active


38 radiatio n that is necessary for key species. All of this severely damages the state of the ecosystem, which has resulted in legal action to restore the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries ecological health ( Marzulla 2005). The Rivers Coalition was formed to add ress the issues associated with the state of the St. Lucie River such as the fresh water discharges. In 2005, large releases from Lake Okeechobee caused massive algae blooms that are toxic for humans to touch, drink or even breathe (Sime 2005). These event s have resulted in the water being closed off to human use for six months at a time. A s much of the economy in this area is derived from the aesthetics provided by the natural coastal landscape and marine habitat, tourism and real estate were largely affec ted (Sime 2005; Marzulla 2005) The people who live on the water or use it regularly were prevented from full use of riparian rights. These rights are protected by the Clean Water Act of 1972; to see to it th at all riparian right are restored. This has resulted in the rulings by Judges Moreno and Gold (Stapleton 2010 ) While the environmental issues surrounding the St. Lucie Estuary are discussed, other similar estuarine habitats have also been impacted such a s Florida Bay and the Miami River. Aside from the effects felt directly by humans, fresh water discharges have impacted the estuary ecosystem in other ways Submerged aquatic vegetation is important nursery habitat for important game fish and reef species. Large areas of the St. Lucie Estuary and Indian River Lagoon are suitable for sea grasses. Since the connection through the C 11 canal from Lake Okeechobee to the St. Lucie river was made, the highest recorded area from of sea grass


39 was 50% of the target area from 1992 1999. Sea grasses are also dependent on other species in the es tuary and lagoon (Sime 2005). Eastern oysters ( Crassostrea virginica ) are a keystone specie s They form large biogenic reefs that provide stationary habitat for many species and act as a nursery. In normal salinity conditions (between 10 and 57 cubic meters per second of fresh water flow) oysters can filter up to 34L of water per hour, removing pollutants, sediments, organic carbon, microorganisms, and phytoplankton ( Wilson and others 2005) Sediments not used by the oyster, are deposited for use by benthic organisms. Removal of these suspended particles increases the amount of lig ht able to penetrate at deeper locations, which increases the growth of submerged aquatic vegetation. Their stationary nature and use of filter feeding make them highly vulnerable to fresh water discharges that alter the normal salinity level and increase the amount of suspended particles in the water. In 1998, oyster beds were measured to cover one seventh of the historic area (Sime 2005). Overall, most of the fish species are negatively impacted indirectly by loss of habitat for juveniles or directly by a baseline of species richness and ecosystem health was recorded. Since then, increases in disease, fungus, and other health hazards to fish have increased and are strongly correlated with large fresh water releases (gr eater than 267 cubic meters per second) ( Wilson and others 2005). Various important communities of the St. Lucie Estuary and Indian River Lagoon have been compromised by changes in salinity. Benthic macroinvertebrates are highly dependent on the delicate balance of sedimentation and water quality of the natural estuarine environment. Mangrove communities protect against erosion and provide key


40 habitat. Due to water management of the St. Lucie River, large portions of mangrove and shore habitat have b ecome fragmented (Larson 1995). Similar to the Everglades ecosystem, connectivity is the key to maintaining necessary water filtration. Near shore coral reefs in the Atlantic Ocean are also sensitive to decreases in salinity and increases in sedimentation. Thes e reefs are vital to sea grass fish species, as the location where more than half of the species spawn ( Dawes and others 1995 ). The biodiversity of the St. Lucie Estuary and the Indian River Lagoon has diminished from base line data and is at risk of furt her losses ( Dawes 1995 ). w ater is diverted to protect cities and farms, and sometimes endangered species. This diversion damages ecologically and culturally important estuaries, lagoons, bays, rivers, lakes, wetlands, and other related habitats By changing the way the water is managed, the Everglades and surrounding ecosystems can begin to be restored to their natural productivity. The most promising restorations efforts focus on allowing the ecosystem to perform normal functions. Everglades r estorations projects have been planned and discussed for decades, with little outcome. The causes of the decline in the health of the Everglades are diverse and responsibility is separated by organizations and affiliations. No one party is willing or able to lead restorations efforts. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) are largely culpa ble for the actions past, present and future. This divide is significant as total efforts are decreased. The SFWMD does not have the same funding available as the USACE, but


41 restorations p lans expect the expenses to be divided evenly. Thus, every plan has come under serious scrutiny, pushing real action further into the future. Table 2.1 shows six proposed plans. Each plan has two or more water control features. The storm water treatment area (STA) is a managed wetland that is design with vegetation specif ic to removing nutrients from the water. Deep storage is a reservoir for flood control and drought protection. A flow way is meant to be a natural unmanaged wetland, but with the possibility of providing flood control and drought protection. The forested w etland is also a natural area that would not be managed, once settled, which would provide the function of nutrient removal (SFWMD 2009) Currently, the state of the St. Lucie River and Estuary has become a driving force to begin restoration. The lack of adherence to the Clean Water Act of 1972 can no longer be ignored (Stapleton 2010). Protection of the estuary will also help the Everglades, Summary of Restoration Plans Features Everglades River of Grass Northern Expansion (ERNE) Estuary Driven Everglades Restoratio n (EDER) Florida Crystal s (FC) Marshall Plan (MPE6) Perfor mance (P) Restoration Plus Employme nt (RPE) STA 8,200 32,500 49,200 14,600 34,000 20,000 Deep Storage 55,000 108,333 87,500 90,567 116,667 100,000 Flow Way 170,000 75,000 45,000 108,385 Forested Wetland 14,500 Total Acres: 233,200 215,833 181,700 228,052 150,667 120,000 Table 1.4 Acreage for water control features for six Everglades restoration plans (Costanza and others 1997)


42 whose declining health is part of the same problems and will result in equal benefits. Since 1989, the lawsuit from the Miccosukee had the same goal of limiting the amount of polluted water entering the natural areas of the Everglades (Delaney 2003). Restoration of the Everglades was and s till is the purpose of challenging the current management of water flow and one plan included building a large reservoir. With thorough analysis of the benefits provided by different water conservation and holding structure, it was determined that such a r eservoir would cost more to build than it would ever be worth. While a reservoir would be sufficient for flood control and drought protection, it would not provide any other ecological func tion (McCormick and others 2010 ; Stapleton 2011). Improving the q uality of these natural areas will also improve life for the people living in Florida, not just by providing aesthetic beauty, but also by developing the economy (WeissKoff 2005). As the main factors impeding restoration are economic, the visibility of eco nomic benefits prepares the relevant government officials for action. McCormick and colleagues (2010) evaluated the economic benefits produced by restoration of the Everglades. The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CER P), first authorized by cong ress in 2000, outlines ecological goals to be achieved by restoration projects (Sklar and others 2005). Co nservative calculations reveal that the benefits are worthwhile. Modification of CERP has reduced the more lofty goals, but still maintains key proje cts. Everglades restoration described by CERP research focuses on (CERP 1999). The economic value provided by the improvement of wetlands is diverse and difficult to calculate. However, several


43 researchers have distinguished measu rable outcomes to be expected from Everglades restoration (Heal and others 2000; Weisskoff 2005; McCormick and others 2010). Everglades restoration improves water quality, which is directly evaluated through real estate values. Another obvious improvement to the ecosystem is to increase in recreational activities. Tourism, fishing, hunting, kayaking, wildlife viewing and other s imilar outdoor activities are quantifiable. On its own, restoration of habitats for recreationally important species presents a large economic incentive. These services sustained by the Everglades are economically useful giving Everglades restoration the net present value of about $46.5 billion (McCormick and others 2010). While it is important to note that the intrinsic value of any natural ecosystem is timelessly important, the economic value of these measureable activities must be used as a way to trans late that fundamental quality of mere existence to a weighty piece of legislation that calls forth real action. Therefore, the monetary value procured by restoration of the Everglades is not only ecologically and economically important, but a lso serves to highlight the problem and solution of all environmental causes. Restoration of the Everglades can be the standard for ecological protection and restoration through economics.


44 Chapter 2 : Case Study of Everglades Ecology for High School Environmental Science A. M aterials and Methods The Everglades have been a part of my life since childhood. As I have grown up in south Florida my understanding and appreciation for the natural beauty here has changed over time. In the summer of 2010, I explored these fam ous wetlands with the eye of a scientist for the first time. I was part of the summer internship program with the Arthur R. Marshall Foundation. Arthur R Marshall was a prominent defender of the Everglades and helped to create the Everglades National Park. The main focus of the foundation has been to educate youth about the Everglades ecosystem. With four other interns, I toured the different parts of the greater Everglades ecosystem, where I learned about the ecology and politics that affected each area. Exploration of the Everglades began at the Kissimmee River, and from there I rode in several airboats on the northern and southern banks of Lake Okeechobee I visited cities that enclose the part of the lake nearest the Everglades and the sugar cane fields south of that. Not too far from my home, I studied the landscape and species of the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge and the Everglades National Park where I passed through Anhinga trail. Finally, I snorkeled in Florida Bay and exam ined transects for the marine flora and fauna. Aside from understanding Everglades ecology more in depth than I ever would have on my own, I learned about the intricate politics involved. I attended meetings with the South Florida Water Management District during planning for Everglades restoration and different community groups such as the


45 Rivers Coalition in Martin county, w here they discussed the pollution of the St. Lucie Estuary. These experiences allowed me to see the many perspectives involved in Eve the Everglades. As the culmination of my exploration of the Everglades, I co authored a paper with the four other interns, on the ecosystem services provided by a resto red version of the Everglades. We traveled to the biannual Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration conference and presented our work at a break out session and at a poster session. There, I learned the most interesting and current research on the state an d future of the Everglades. From this experience, I chose the most relevant and interesting information for a lesson plan on Everglades ecology for high school students. I created a three day unit that I presented to three Environmental Science classes at discussed the overall ecology of the Everglades as a wetland and the major anthropogenic changes to the landscape and flow of water I used that to lead into the phosphorus cy cle and the effects of phosphorus pollution in wetlands and neighboring estuaries The degradation caused by the major water modification projects in the Everglades was explained. Fina lly I brought the point to the ecosystem services provided by the Everg lades. The lesson focused on teaching important scientific concepts that could be o learn science, beginning in the ea rliest years of development. While my case study focused on


46 much older students, my understanding of the youngest learners has aided me in presenting science in a way that all students will want to learn more. I have been working at the New College Child C enter, a Montessori style pre school, for the past four years. I have had the opportunity to see many children learn to walk, speak, draw, write, and socialize. This thorough experience has taught me patience and the skill of aiding students to be their ow n educational guide. This t echnique is valid for students of all ages and was my inspiration for my lesson. For my 2009 Indep endent Study Project I volunt eered i n the science department school specializes in helping students get into their choice colleges. The teachers are all well qualified and their students have a high level of success on AP e xams and standardized tests such as the SAT. I was able to observe several science classes where different materials were presented with varying teaching styles. I taught a lesson on field ecology to the AP environmental science class in the upper school. The students appreciated seeing a real example of how a scientist studies the environment. The teacher enjoyed having me present and encouraged me to come back for my lesson on the Everglades ecosystem. I was also invited to teach at the Pendleton School at IMG athletic academies. Many of the students are from all over the country and some are from outside of the U.S. While students are accepted to colleges and universities based on their academic merit, they are largely admitted for athletic abilities. Th ere I taught two AP and one regular environmental science class.


47 For all of the classes my methods were constant. I visited each class for three periods and provided a snack at the start During the last fifteen minutes in the first day, I gave a pre quiz in order to measure their initial knowledge on the subject, introduced the lesson using the first two slides of my PowerPoint presentation, and assigned a short article to read and questions to answer This first day was important to get the students think ing about the Everglades and formulate ideas. The second period I presented the first slide show, did the phosphorus runoff experiment, and handed out a second article for them to read with corresponding questions. The final class I discussed the homework questions with the students as a group, presented the second slide show, and gave the post quiz.


48 Ever glades Presentation Slide Show 1 Figure 2.1 Sattelite image of Florida We will be talking about the phosphorus cycle. Specifically how the phosphorus cycle is a major part of the Everglades. I would like to find out what you know about the Everglades, which you can see in figure 2.1. I will ask you some questions and if you would like to volunteer please raise your hand so that I know. Is it The or An everglades? Who has been to th e Everglades? Where did you visit? What did you like about your trip? What did you do in the Everglades? Can you tell me what you saw there? This summer I worked in the Everglades and learned about the ecosystem.


49 Throughout this lesson I will refer to the Everglades several ways. The Greater Everglades Ecosystem begins with the flow of water. Florida's landscape naturally slopes down as seen in figure 2.3, with the highest part of the Everglades the furthest north F igure 2.2 shows the flow of water thr ough the historic landscape. The water flowed south from the Kissimmee chain of Lakes down into Lake Okeechobee. The Lake would over flow and large flood plains were created. The water flowed through the pond apple forest and cypress swamps then through th e saw grass plains to the ridge and slough system and out into Biscayne bay. The Everglades was ONE continuous ecosystem where a single rain drop could move throughout the system.


50 Figure 2.4 shows the historic map of the Everglades on the left and the map on the right is the current map of the Everglades. What are the major differences between current and historic maps of the Everglades? The EAA is where the saw grass plains used to be. The ecosystem is broken up into smaller areas. The EAA takes up a large part of the ecosystem Notice how much room the Urban areas take up. (point out Coral Springs where I grew up.) Do you agree then that there is much less land for water to flow? Let s look at the land feature s.


51 Figures 2.5 and 2.6 show two similar maps of the Everglades. They are both maps of the current Everglades ecosystem. Discuss major land features. The natural path of the flow of water had been changed. There is still just as much water now as historically entering the Everglades. But there is much less land for the water to be held on. The US Army Corp of Engineers worked to divert large amounts of water.


52 Figure 2.7 Map of water flow The water is diverted through a massive series of canals dams and dikes. Drainage of the Everglades land was the largest water diverting project in the world and figure 2.7 shows the change in the flow of water. The US Army Corps of Engineers built a lar ge dike around Lake Okechobee. This dike was built to last 40 years and it is now in its 60th. Major construction is being done to keep the people and farms around the lake safe. To do this the water must stay below a certain level in the lake. When the w ater in Lake Okeechobee gets too high, it is pumped out to the Atlantic ocean through the St. Lucie canal and out to the gulf of Mexico through the Calooshatchee river. What problems might be cause by diverting the water? There is n ot enough water for wet lands south of Lak e Okeechobee and t oo much water in estuaries.


53 The natural ecosystem of the Everglades was much wetter than it is kept today. Figure 2.8 shows a typical wet prairie, which is like a slough, they are deeper with more submerged aquatic vegetation. Figure 2.9 shows cypress trees. Cypress trees have evolved to survive well in the natural Everglades ecosystem. They can live in water all year long.


54 Figure 2.10 Photo of Kissimmee River floodplains with chan n elized portion in back 180/index.html Figure 2.10 shows an example of the the everglades. You can see in the back where the river has specific edges, where it begi ns and ends, then the river seems to have no end. Water just floods out and creates small canals throughout the surrounding land. The entire Everglades ecosystem was very wet like this, it was essentially a giant flood plain. I have been talking about the Everglades ecosystem this whole time, but let s make sure we agree on what the word ecosystem means. What do you think that the word ecosystem means?


55 Can you add anything to these definitions or figure 2.11? We are top predators, for us to survive, we need the rest of the ecosystem to survive too. Primary producers are plants. We eat plants and other animals eat plants We eat those other animals. We are all part of the ecosystem. Let s look at what part of the everglades ecosystem humans are invol ved with. What in the Everglades depends on humans and what do humans depend on from the Everglades


56 Figure 2.12 (left) Photo of Anhinga taken on Anhinga Trail by myself. Figure 2.13 (right) Photo of Great White Egrets Figure 2.14 (bottom left) Photo of Blue Heron album/220168 wildlife pics.html Figure 2.15 (bottom right) Wood Stork feeding with an open beak http://www. What animals are part of the Everglades ecosystem? Wading birds; the Everglades National Park was set aside largely because of a huge drop in wading bird populations. Figure 2.12 shows an Anhinga. Anhingas dive underwater to catch their fish. Their feathers are not water proof because they need to swim under water quickly. This Anhinga is drying off its wings. White egrets are in figure 2.13, and a great blue heron in figure 2.14.


57 The Wood Stork fe eds differently than many wading birds. Many wading birds look through the water to see their food. They hunt for it. When the water is murky the birds cannot see their prey. Wood storks do not look for their food. They hunt by feeling as seen in figure 2. 15. The leave their beaks open and quickly catch a fish that swims by. This is impor tant because w hen the water was rerouted by humans some places had too much water and some had not enough. Figure 2.16 (top left) Photo of Anhinga eating a fish Figure 2.17 (right) Photo of Alligator Figure 2.18 (bottom left) Photo of man in Alligator hole


58 Normally alligators, seen in figure 2.17. create deep holes that hold water during the dry season. Figure 2.18 shows an alligator hole. You can see how deep it is with this ma n standing in it. Figure 2.16 shows an Anhinga. During the dry season alligator holes are very helpful for wading birds. It gives them a place to hunt for fish when many other parts of the Everglades are dried up. Of course many other types of animals li ve in the everglades. But I also need to talk about the biggest animal at the top of the food chain. Humans! Figure 2.19 Canals throughout development east/florida everglades %2000400000058283/page2.html Human s have been developing on the Everglades land for a long time. Figure 2.19 shows canals built through development. Development was a major driving factor in the drainage of the Everglades. Vast areas of land that was home to alligators, fish, snakes, wadin g birds of all types are now home to humans


59 In figure 2.21 you can see the white area along the east coast is development; homes, stores, businesses, etc. Large areas of land have been converted from natural habitat seen in figure 2.20 to developed human land. Because of how we have changed the landscape of the Everglades the plants and animals are dependent on us. Humans take up space. Animals and plants are dependent on humans leaving space for them, as well as providin g water.


60 The Everglades Agricultural Area has been a large focus as part of Everglades ecosystem restoration. The red area in figure 2.22, south of Lake Okeechobee, is the EAA. Figure 2.23 shows a photo of farms. That area has extremely fertile soil. After the dike was built around Lake Okeechobee, the land was able to be drained and used f or farming. Humans are dependent on the supply of water from Lake O. as well and the supply of fertile land. What does agriculture supply to the Everglades? How are the Everglades dependent on the EAA? What do you think? Nutrients are added to the farms but they do not stay there. The extra nutrients enter Everglades Ecosystem.


61 Figure 2.24 (left) Photos of tractor praying farm http://dels Figure 2.25 (top) Photo of tractors development m/category/green revolution/ Figure 2.26 (right) Photo of plane spraying agricultural chemicals fertilizers harm earth The Everglades were drained because of the thick peat soil and muck that was thoug ht to be nutrient rich. Farmers had learned to use the valuable nutrients in the soil wisely. Different techniques were used to make sure the soil was kept nutrient rich In the 1960 things changed though. Farmers were able to add synthetic nutrients to the soil to make their crops grow larger and faster. This was the green revolution, not to be confused with the current trend of environmentalism, but it was a huge increase in farm production. Fertilizers were created that could be used with genetically modi fied fruit and vegetable crops that were larger and more numerous. Figures 2.24 2.26 show several ways farmers applied nutrients and pesticides to their farms.


62 Figure 2.27 (top left) Photo of sawgrass and wildlife wald/research/projects/NRC_2001/NRC.shtml Figure 2.28 (top right) Photo of sawgrass in a wet prairie %20BtyAIJEsc Figure 2.29 (bottom left) Photo of cattails Figure 2.30 (bottom right) Photo of Lake Okeechobee and adjacent EAA Nutrients help plants to grow, but the Everglades are naturally a nutrient poor system. One of the main nutrients that is not naturally abundant in the Everglades is Phosphorus. Phosphorus is a limiting nutrient. The amount of phosphorus present in the water and the soil actually determines what kinds of plants grow. In this way the plants are dependent on the nutrients supplied by the runoff of the farms in the EAA. Figure 2.30 shows a canal connecting to the EAA. If more phosphorus is present than different


63 types of plants grow in the Everglades than what historically g rew in the Everglades than different animals and will live in those different plants. Figures 2.27 2.29 show cattails and sawgrass. It is very clear that the Everglades are dependent on the input of phosphorus. We really need to understand the phosphorus t o understand how to restore the Everglades. Figure 2.31 shows the normal phosphorus cycle diagram. Phosphorus is a mineral. It is an inorganic compound found in mountains and rocks. When the mountains are weathered away by rain and wind, very very s mall pieces of rocks gather and form part of the soil. There in the soil plants are able to absorb it through their roots and use it along with water, sunlight, and other nutrients to grow. The


64 phosphorus then becomes PART of the p lant and is now in the form of organic phosphorus. The plant is called organic matter. Phosphorus is present in DNA and RNA. The inorganic pieces of earth, soil, sunlight, air, and nutrients like phosphorus are absorbed and used in the plant. In this for m the organic phosphorus can be consumed by animals and used to help the animal grow. In the past, phosphorus could only be found in soil that had accumulated or gathered phosphorus over a long period of time. Figure 2.32 Conceptual diagram of the phosp horus cycle Figure 2.32 is a more accurate version of the phosphorus cycle. More phosphorus is added to the crops to make them grow faster and larger. Many farmers thought that if more fertilizers were added their plants would grow


65 larger and faster. This is not true though. Plants can only take in specific amounts of phosphorus. The extra phosphorus just sits in the soil or is dissolved in the water. What might happen if it rai ns or when the crops are watered? What is the scientific method ? Write down hypothesis or students answer on board.


66 Everglades Presentation Slide Show 2 Figure 2.33 A comparison of maps of the historic (left) and present day Everglades (right) http://dels The major differences include: A lack of connectivity between the different parts of the Everglades. Figure 2.33 shows that the Everglades used to be one continuous system. Now the ecosystem is split u p. Lake Okeechobee is largely separated from the rest of the water conservation areas (WCA) and the Everglades. Each of the WCAs are separated between each other and the Everglades National Park (ENP). The main partition between WCA 3 and ENP is the Tamia mi trail. Small canals are meant to allow water to flow from WCA 3 south to ENP. Many canals connect these separated e cosystems. In the historic Everglades, nutrients and water flowed freely throughout the ecosystem and were readily available for use by pl ants and animals.


67 Figure 2.34 Map of major canals in Everglades (left) Figure 2.35 (right) Map of major canals and land use 7d9 2 14 Now much of the water of the Everglades moves through canals rather than flowing freely between habitats. It is important to consider that the canals should be PART of the ecosystem, but in reality they act more like sewer lines between the separate h abitats. Figures 2.34 and 2.35 show the numerous canals that connect the different parts of the Everglades together When the water flows freely through a wetland at its natural slow pace, which is what it used to do, nutrients and pollutants can be absorbed by the plant. This decreases the amount of nutrients such as phosphorus in the water. When the water is forced fast through a canal there is too much water and not enough plants to absorb the nutrients and pollutants. The nutrients build up in the water and are transported all throughout the Everglades.


68 Figure 3.6 (top left) Photo of canals through development Figure 2.37 (bottom left) Photo of canal oducedspecies.html Figure 2.38 (bottom right) Photo of canal through agriculture Canals connect not only the natural areas, but also the agricultural areas as well as the developed areas as seen in fi gures 2.36 2.38. Development and agriculture causes nutrients and pollutants to runoff into the canals. The canals again transport these nutrients to other places. Remember we talked about how much water the Everglades could hold. Naturally the Everglades was a large floodplain. Now much of that water is forced into these canals. Let s look at the ecosystem of a canal compared to the ecosystem of a natural wetland


69 Figure 2.39 (top) Photo of large canal divided into three smaller canals Figure 2.40 (bottom) Photo of wet prairie http://www.mnn.c om/local reports/florida/local blog/scientists policy makers and managers move forward in everglades re Comparison of figures 2.39 and 2.40 shows us v isible differences: No floating vegetation, No vegetation on the shore. Invisible differences: Water is t oo deep for floating or submerged vegetation, high nutrients in water Some water is used for agriculture and development (people need water to drink and bath with, watering lawns, etc.) Some water is needed in the natural areas. As we said before, most of the natural areas are separated from their water source which is lake Okeechobee. But because the natural areas are much smaller than they historically were, there is extra water. Lake Okeechobee is smaller, so we can't keep the water there. Where should we send the water?


70 Figure 2.41 (left) Aerial photo of Florida with arrows pointing to major flow from Lake Okeechobee Figure 2.42 (right) Map of water flow During the rainy season in Florida's summer months there is excess water which is diverted through canals to the Atlantic O cean through the St. Lucie estuary and through the Caloosahatchee River into the Gulf of Mexico as seen in figures 2.41 and 2.42. Historically during the rainy seasons, Lake Okeechobee would flood out and become connected to the Caloosahatchee river, but there was no connection between the St. Lucie River and Lake Okeechobee During drainage of the Everglades the St. Lucie Canal was x reated, maki ng a connection between Lake Okeechobee and the St. Lucie River which connects to the St. Lucie Estuary.


71 Figure 2.43 (top) Map of St. Lucie Canal and River q=C %0944+canal+map&ie=UTF 8&sa=N&tab=il Figure 2.44 (right) Photo of St. Lucie Inlet Figure 2.45 (bottom right) Aerial photo St. Lucie Inlet,276034&_dad=portal&_schema=PORT AL Figure 2.43 shows the St. Lucie river on a map, indicating the connection between Lake Okeechobee. Figures 2.44 and 2.45 show the actual area of the St. Lucie Inlet. Discuss location of St. Lucie inlet, canal, and river. Estuaries are of the most biodiverse ecosystems. The St. Lucie Estuary is one of the most biodiverse estuaries in North America.


72 Figure 2.46 (top left) Photo of crocodile Figure 2. 47 (top right) Photo of coral reef in St. Lucie estuary to Visit on hutchinson island.html Figure 2.48 (bottom left) Photo of bird in St. Lucie estuary to Visit on hutchinson island.h tml Figure 2.49 (bottom center) Photo of Heron Figure 2.50 (bottom right) Photo of dolphins to Visit on hutchinson island.html An estuary is on the coa st of land where fresh water from a river enters the ocean and is able to mix with salt water. This mixture of salt and fresh water is called brackish water. The truly unique and important part of an estuary is that it is a nursery. Baby sea creatures are able to live in estuaries until they are big enough to go out into the ocean alone. Figure 2.47 shows a coral reef with many fish. Because young fish live in this estuary other animals are also able to live there, like this crocodile, many birds, dolphins a nd many, many more animals. Figures 2.46 and 2.48 2.50 shows some of the native species.


73 Figure 2.51 (top left) Photo of snorkeler swimming with dolphins paradise pcb/ Figure 2.52 (top right) Photo of snorkeler in coral reef Figure 2.53 (bottom left) Tour boat to Visit on hutchinson island.html Figure 2.54 (bottom center) Kayaks destination indian river lagoon a96571 Figure 2.55 (bottom right) Recreational fisherman Including humans. It is beautiful, people enjoy vacationing there, fishing, kayaking, sc uba diving, boating, swimming, viewing wildlife, etc as seen in figures 2.51 2.55. All of these activities occur year long in the St. Lucie estuary. Not only do people who live there enjoy those activities, but many tourists do also. Unfortunately these a ctivities were forced to be stopped again and again because of this new connection between lake Okeechobee and the St. Lucie Estuary.


74 Figure 2.56 Hurrican Katrina before crossing Florida 180/index.html Before a hurricane water is quickly pumped from lake Okeechobee through the St. L ucie canal into the Atlantic ocean and the Caloosahatchee river into the Gulf of Mexico to protect the people and land around Lake Okeechobee. Figure 2.56 shows a hurricane larger tha n Florida. Imagine how much water the hurricane holds.


75 Figure 2.57 (top left) Photo of oyster Figure 2.58 (top right) Photo of oyster reef with fish surrounding Figure 2.59 (bottom left) Photo of oyster reef exposed at low tide Figure 2.60 (bottom right) Photo of oyster reef in water Large amounts of fresh water causes the ecosystem to be set off balance. Estuaries need specific amounts of salt and fresh water so that all of the different types of animals can live. Let s look at the types of wildlife that usually likes in the St. Lucie estuary. Baby fish need salt water to survive ; some fish can swim away to an area with more salt water. Oysters need both salt and fresh water to grow and survive. Oysters live in ere they do not move long distances. Figures 2.57 2.60 show oysters and oyster beds. These fresh water releases from Lake Okeechobee cause the oysters to die off in large numbers. The fresh water added is not the kind that you might drink, it is loaded wit h nutrient pollution. As we mentioned yesterday large am ounts of nutrients runoff into L ake Okeechobee and surrounding waters.


76 This causes some major problems as seen in figured 2.61 2.66. High levels of phosphorus in the water cause toxic algae blooms. Excess nutrients in the water are consumed by algae which reproduce rapidly in large numbers, this is an algae bloom. This l arge number of algae use up the dissolved oxygen in the water. When algae use up a lot of the dissolved oxygen in the water fish can suffocate and do not survive is such conditions The algae blooms are toxic to human health. Just touching the algae could cause skin rash, runny nose irritated eyes. Swallowing the water would be similar to food poisoning and could endanger the lives of pets. Resorts canceled water activities for 6 months. This first happened in 2005. A group of people came together because th ey could not use their land as they should be able to. Figure 2.64 (center) Warning for toxic algae blooms in S t Lucie Estuary _01_arc hive.html Figure 2.65 (bottom left) Photo of algae bloom _01_archive.html Figure 2.66 (bottom right) Photo of algae bloom Figure 2.61 (top left) Photo of algae 010_11_01_archive.html Figure 2.62 (top right) Photo of algae p/13/262636/ Figure 2.63 (right center) Lifeguard on duty during algae bloom


77 Figure 2.67 (top left) Ecosystem services Figure 2.68 (top right) Cartoon of ecosystem services http://www.miller m economics/mother nature s sum 4226/ Figure 2.69 (bottom left) Cartoon of ecosystem services http://www.miller economics/mother nature s sum 4226/ Figure 2.70 (bottom right) Diagram of ecosystem services We know that phosphorus is filtered out of the soil and water by plants. Historically the Ever glades water moved at a very slow pace. This allowed for the plants to absorb the most nutrients, because naturally there were not a lot of nutrients in the water. This is an example of an ecosystem service. Without asking it to or paying it, the Everglades filters excess nutrients f rom the fresh water. When water is forced through canals quickly nutrients are not able to be used up and filtered out. In canals the nutrients are mixed with water and can flow to different parts of the Everglades or out into the Estuaries. Figures 2.67 2 .70 are cartoons depicting ecosystem services.


78 Figure 2.71 Natural beauty of Everglades landscape Some scientists see that the natural land of the Everglades is valuable to humans. Monetary values have been calculated for different services provided by ecosystems. The Everglades provide functions humans did not realize at first. Now we know jut how important they are once we see these services not w orking. When humans changed the natural flow of water, nutrients were not able to be filtered out, plants could not absorb nutrients. What are some other things the Everglades does for humans? Supply drinking water, storm protection, food production, hab itat for wildlife, gas regulation, cultural, recreation... How much are these services worth when they are gone? The Everglades, if healthy, would do them forever, for free. Aesthetic beauty, seen in figure 2.71, is a priceless ecosystem service.


81 Statistical Analysis of Pre and Pos t quiz Number of Students Mean Pre quiz Mean Post Quiz Mean Difference Standard Deviation Degrees of Freedom Dependent t test value P value 24 4.63 (28%) 10.4 (65%) 5.75 (36%) 3.6025 23 7.82 < .0001 Table 2.1 Results of statistical analysis of student scores on pre and post quiz Chapter 2 : Case Study of Everglades Ecology for High School Environmental Science B. Results and Discussion Results w ere presented to three classes at Pendleton first and then s Episcopal Sch ool. All or part of the lesson was absenteeism, 9 students did not complete both the pre and post quiz ; and 5 from Pendleton. Data from 24 student s were analyzed and seen in table 2.1 T he pre and post quiz had the same questions ordered differently. There were 2 points given to each of the 8 questions for a total of 16 points. The t test value for the pre and post quiz where t( 23) = 7.82, p< .000 1 indicate d significan ce The mean for the pre quiz, 4.63 points (28%), suggested low baseline to post quiz was 5.75 points (36%). The mean of the post quiz 10.4 points (65%) indicated that they learned a majority of the information presented over the three days of lessons Students scored significantly higher on the post quiz than the pre quiz.


82 D iscussion Analysis of data was limit ed due to the small sample size Originally, the lesson was in tended for more students at different schools. I had limited access to other public schools. Fortunately, I was able to have significant results and some unexpected diversity. I discovered that most of the students from Pendleton were not from Florida T hey had not heard of the Everglades and knew almost nothing about them. The pre quiz mean for Pendleton students was five po Further a nalysis was limited due to the large difference in population size bet ween the two schools, with 8 from St. Stephens and 16 from Pendleton. While statistical analysis cannot support any noticeable t rend, there were a few differences in the classes that warrant ed further consideration At Pendleton in two of the classes there were only four students and eight students in the third class and eight students in the class at St. Stephens. This small class size may have provided an advantage by giving me more time with each student, or possibly a disa dvantage by limiting perspectiv es from peers Schoen (2003) found that students are able to benefit by listening to various perspectives. With more students, peer discussion can provide a means for disproving en 2003). On the other hand, having more time with each student allow ed for more personal experience s With fewer students in a class there would be more time for each student to ask questions, and gain more from learning directly from the teacher, who, wi th more


83 knowledge on the subject than the students, can provide insightful connections and explanations (Clotfelter and others 2009, Augustine 2010). T he results do not indicate a significant difference between the two large classes with eight students eac h and the two smaller classes with four students each. When compared with public school class size, eight students is a small class. Overall, student improved significantly from the pre quiz to the post quiz, which indicated that students retained information presented in the lesson This supports my hypothesis that specific methods of teaching used in my lesson can improve the salience of information provided to small classes thus allowing the students to gain knowledge of the natural scientific c oncepts associated with the Everglades. Although the s e data are statistically significant, it is not applicable to students at other schools. The small sample size limits the reach of this experiment. Rather than claim that all students in high school will learn the same way as the students here, I would like for this experiment to be used as a template for other lesson plans. The main purpose of this study was to make science relevant to high school students by creating a li nk to real life Not only does t his method teach the importance of ecosystems, it also ill uminates the usefulness of science. encouraging students to think like scientists. This method of teachi ng the scientific concepts in real life problems creates connections that are necessary for students to make F indings by Dee and Cohodes (2008 ) support these observations.


84 There was also a trend in the questions tha t students correctly or incorrectly answered, but this was not measured for significance. Interestingly, there were two questions about ecosystem services that were the most often correctly and incorrectly answered on both th e pre and post quiz. The most often correctly answered question asked for examples of ecosystem services provided by the Everglades for the student ( pre quiz question number 7 and post quiz question number 5). The most often incorrectly answered question asked the students for examples of how the Everglades can perform a service for the estuary (pre quiz question number 8 and post quiz question number 6) This indicated that students were able to understand that the E verglades can be useful for themselves, but not for another ecosystem or non human This curious result as studied by Piaget (1964). Some form of egocentrism is seen in adolescents and adults (Piaget 1964). The phosphorus cycle was an important concept covered S tudents incorrectly answered the question on the phosphorus cycle more often than other questions ( pre quiz question number 4 and post quiz question number 8). The method of questioning was free writing and allowed them to draw a picture if necessary Thi s helped me to discover an unexpected misconception. The cycle was mostly understood and explained correctly, but a few students incorrectly stated that animals can drink the phosphorus in the water and absorb it. This is not true as phosphorus is only abs orbed by animals through ingesting organic forms of phosphorus stored in plant biomass. In future lessons on the phosphorus cycle, the difference between organic and inorganic forms should be better explained, and that only plants are able to absorb inorga nic phosphorus directly.


85 One important part of this experiment that I did not measure was the effect of providing a healthy snack for students. I provided apples, clementines and trail mix each day. Most of the students ate each day In the two classes tha t were before the ir lunch period, almost all of the students ate. The students took care of their basic needs and were able to pay attention to the lesson. This is supported by Sweeny and colleagues (2006). In future studies more students should be reache d, especially at public schools. Here multiple control groups should be used. One group sh ould have the pre and post quiz without the lesson with a snack before the quiz and the other group with the sn ack after the quiz. Another group could also provide useful comparison by giving the pre and post quiz and the lesson with the snack at the end of the class. While teaching methods are extremely important to salience of information addressing hunger in school is equally necessary


86 Afterword The E verglades are unique to the world and represent an important environmental icon. The ecosystem has been transformed by humans for the past century and only in the past two decades has any effort been made to stem the disastrous effects of the major water m odification and diversion projects (Grunwald 2006). Similarly, STEM education in the U.S. is experiencing catastrophe (Augustine 2010). The number of trained STEM teachers is dwindling. Without appropriate educators, fewer students pursue careers in STEM ( Ingersoll and others 2009, Darling Hammond 2007, Augustine 20 10). To strengthen STEM fields and thus decrease economic inequality and strengthen national security, a new approach to education is needed. As the goals of STEM fields are changing to incorpora te an environmental perspective, so should education in these fields. The Everglades were used as a case study to demonstrate change s in STEM education that can be made. To improve STEM education teachers must also be knowledgeable in their subject and pre sent information in a way that is relevant to students. To resuscitate the Everglades, people must be educated about the ecology and the goals of restoration. Reaching these goals can be done simultaneously. Educating youth about important scientific conc epts is necessary and part of Florida state standards. information can be increased. This idea of incorporating environmental concepts into science lessons and vice versa is necessary to improve the state of the biosphere as well as STEM education, making it relevant beyond the Everglades and Florida.


87 The Everglades are not the only ecosystem that is in a perilous state. Many ecosystems all over the world are also being devastated by humans who are either uneducated or without resources to preserve their natural areas. Once students are able to understand the science of their local environment they w ill be able to learn how other ecosystems are also facing difficult and c omplex issues, promoting a global environmental consciousness. Understanding the science of environmental issues is necessary to recognize the value that ecosystems have for humans, even if the intrinsic worth is not obvious. Ecosystems provide essentia l functions for life on earth. Without these services humans will literally have to pay for their replacement later as we can see in the case of the Florida Everglades. Protection of the environment will create a sustainable future, but requires aid by l ocal, national and international governments. Educating citizens and government officials is crucial to ensure prospective use of our indispensible environmental resources.


88 Appendix A Pre quiz Name:________________ Date:_____________ 1. What is the dominant ecosystem of the Everglades? 2. What are the main features of an estuary? 3. How do excess amounts of nutrients like phosphorus enter the Everglades ? 4. Describe the phosphorus cycle. Be sure to answer these questions in your description. Where does phosphorus come from? How does phosphorus naturally enter into the environment? How do a nimals take in phosphorus? How does the phosphorus enter the environment again? Draw a picture if it is helpful for you.


89 5. How are algae blooms formed in estuaries ? Hint: where does the water come from ? 6. What are some of the effects of these toxic algae blooms? 7. Provide example s of ecos ystem services that the Everglades does for you 8. How can the Everglades preform a service to prevent the loss of biodiversity of the St. Lucie Estuary?


90 Post quiz Name:_ _______________ Date:_____________ 1. How are algae blooms formed in estuaries? Hint: Think about where the water comes from? 2. What are some of the effects of these algae blooms? 3. What are the main features of an estuary? 4. What is the dominant ecosystem of the Everglades? 5. Provide examples of ecosystem services that the Everglades does for you.

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91 6. How can the Everglades preform a service to prevent the loss of biodiversity of the St. Lucie Estuary? 7. How do excess amounts of nutrients like phosphorus enter the Everglades? 8. Describe the phosphorus cycle. Be sure to answer these questions in your description. Where does phosphorus come from? How does phosphorus naturally enter into the environment? How do animals take in phosphorus? How does the phosphorus enter the environment again? Draw a picture if it is helpful for you.

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92 Answer Key for Question from Pre and Post quiz 1. What are the main features of an estuary? Answer : brackish water, mixture of salt and fresh water, nursery for fish and marine animals, high level of biodiversity 2. What is the dominant ecosystem of the Everglades? Answer: Wetlands 3. How do excess amounts of nutrients like phosphorus enter the Everglades? Answer: Through agricultural uses of phosphorus and runoff from roads and development. 4. Describe the phosphorus cycle. Be sure to answer these questions in your description. Where does phosphorus come from? How does phosphorus naturally enter into the environment? How do animals take in phosphorus? How does the phosphorus enter the environment again? Draw a picture if it is helpful for you. Answer: Phosphorus is present in rocks and mountains. Rain and wind weather the rocks and mountains and allow the phosphorus to form small particles that mix in with soil. Plants are able to absorb the phosphorus through their roots. The phosphorus becomes part of their plant fibers. Animals then eat the plant and the phosphorus becomes part of the animals tissues. When the anim al dies or passes the phosphorus, it enters the soil again. Then it is able to be absorbed by plants again. 5. How are algae blooms formed in estuaries, where does the water come from? Answer: L arge amounts of phosphorus from fresh water discharges in estuar ies cause large toxic algae blo oms. The large fresh water discharges come from lake Okeechobee. 6. What are some of the effects of these toxic algae blooms? Answer: The large numbers of algae use up most of the available oxygen and cause fish kills. The alg ae blooms are toxic to humans and cause serious allergic reactions and cause people to get very sick, including skin rash, runny nose, vomiting, etc. When humans cannot enter the water the tourist industries that are centered around beautiful coastal areas like estuaries suffer large economic losses. 7. Provide an example of ecosystem services that the Everglades does for you. Answer: water filtration, nutrient cycling, water storage, wildlife viewing, recreation, etc. 8. How can the Everglades preform a service to prevent the loss of biodiversity of the St. Lucie Estuary? Answer: The Everglades can act to store water south of Lake Okeechobee and filter out excess nutrients rather than send it straight through the a canal and into the estuary.

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93 Homework Assignment 1 Read the vocabulary list below before reading the articles. Please write down 1 question you have about the articles. If you do not understand a word or sentence please circle or highlight it. This will help me to help you. Vocabulary for Ar ticles Lysimeter An instrument used to measure the amount of water soluble matter in soil Scathing Bitter, severe or harmful remark Incomprehensible Impossible to understand Stormwater Treatment Areas (STA) A wetland enhanced with specific plants to filter out excess nutrients in the soil Ppb Parts per billion, a measure of the amount of a chemical in the water (10 ppb = 10 molecules of phosphorus per billion molecules of water) Sugarcane OK in Standing W ater, Helps Protect Everglades ScienceDaily (Apr. 13, 2010) A study by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists shows that sugarcane can tolerate flooded conditions for up to two weeks. That's good news for growers who are using best management pra ctices for controlling phosphorous runoff into the Everglades. Phosphorous stays attached to the soil for a long time even with the moderate rates of phosphorous fertilizer applied to sugarcane in Florida. If growers immediately drain their flooded fields after heavy rains have stirred up the soil, then soil particles -with phosphorus attached -flow from surrounding ditches and canals into the Everglades. Studies have reported that reducing phosphorus will help restore the large expanses of nativ e sawgrass in the Everglades that were replaced with cattails. Presently, Florida sugarcane growers are under strict regulations to reduce the amount of phosphorous runoff into the Everglades, so they often delay drainage for several days and reduce draina ge rates from their fields to prevent large amounts of soil and phosphorous from getting caught in the runoff. However, growers are concerned about how standing water affects yield and sugar content of their crop. Results from a lysimeter study conducted by agronomist Barry Glaz and soil scientist Dolen Morris (now deceased) at the ARS Sugarcane Field Station in Canal Point, Fla., show that sugarcane may be just the crop to help contribute positively to Everglades restoration. The research ers found that flooding for up to two weeks had no adverse effects on yield and sugar content. If lysimeter results translate to commercial fields, then growers can wait to drain standing water. This will allow the soil stirred up by the heavy rains to set tle, resulting in less phosphorous entering the Everglades. However, the problem is far from solved because results from this study, published in Agronomy Journal also showed that that while sugarcane yielded well with periodic flooding, its yields were s ubstantially reduced by shallow water table depths. In other words, the water table is consistently close to the soil surface, so that a substantial portion of the plant's roots are always in water. Further research by Glaz will focus on the effects of flo ods and shallow water tables on sugarcane roots as he seeks strategies aimed at sustaining sugarcane yields while keeping phosphorus discharge at acceptable levels.

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94 U.S. judge says EPA fails to protect Everglades from pollution By CHRISTINE STAPLETON Palm Beach Post Staff Writer Updated: 9:41 p.m. Wednesday, April 14, 2010 Posted: 8:42 p.m. Wednesday, April 14, 2010 A frustrated federal judge ordered the head of th e U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to appear in a Miami courtroom in October to explain how the agency will enforce the Clean Water Act in the Everglades after "failure to comply with the law for more than two decades." In a scathing 48 page ruling re leased on Wednesday, Federal District Judge Alan S. Gold accused the EPA, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the South Florida Water Management District of deliberately ignoring and refusing to enforce the laws limiting the amount of ph osphorus discharged into the Everglades. The judge stopped short of finding the EPA and Florida's environmental agency in contempt. But he found that the agencies were not in compliance with an ordered he issued in July 2008. The judge also criticized the water district, though it's not a defendant in the suit, for "not taking any action to meet Clean Water Act requirement." The DEP issues the permits that the district needs to discharge water from its stormwater treatment areas into the Everglades. For t he district, the ruling means those permits must be amended with lower phosphorus limits. To comply, the district will have to reduce phosphorus levels -some of them currently nine times higher than allowed under the Clean Water Act. Gold also ordered F lorida DEP chief Mike Sole to appear in court in October. The DEP, speaking for itself and the district in a press release, defended its permitting process, saying it is in compliance with the Clean Water Act and "also protective of the Everglades." An app eal "will be necessary." The EPA said it would release a response today The ruling was the latest action in a 2004 lawsuit filed by the Miccosukee Indians, who live in the Everglades, and the non profit Friends of the Everglades. The ruling was especi ally good news for the Miccosukees, who have "felt for years the government is in conspiracy to ignore the laws," said Dexter Lehtinen, the tribe's attorney. The ruling shows "that our government feels no compulsion to follow the law and needs a federal ju dge to hit them over the head to get them to comply," he said. Most phosphorous pollution comes from fertilizer runoff from farms and from development. In 1994 lawmakers set a deadline of 2006 to reduce phosphorus levels to 10 parts per billion. The deadl ine was extended to 2016 by "legislation and rule making that was so complex as to be incomprehensible to lay persons," Gold wrote.

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95 In July 2008 Gold ruled that the EPA should have stopped Florida from extending the deadline. He ordered the agency to the enforce lower phosphorus limits. But phosphorus levels in the district's six stormwater treatment areas remained above the limit, ranging from 13 ppb to 93 ppb, according to a district report. The tribe and Friends of the Everglades went back to court and asked the judge to hold the agencies in contempt. "None of the governmental agencies involved directly told the public the hard truth: we have not solved the problem, we do not know for sure w hen the problem will be solved, and we do not know if the Everglades will survive by the time we can meet the 10 ppb standard," Gold wrote in his ruling. The ruling gives the EPA until Sept. 3 to devise a plan to force DEP to enforce lower phosphorus limi ts. The order also strips the DEP of its power to issue new or amend permits to discharge water into the Everglades. "I can't imagine why the state wouldn't use this opportunity to say let's get on with it and just do it," said John Childe, attorney for F riends of the Everglades Short Answer Questions with Answers Sugar Cane OK in Standing Water, Helps Protect Everglades And U.S. Judge says EPA fails to protect Everglades from Pollution 1. What type of fertilizer is applied to sugarcane crops in Florida? Answer: Phosphorus 2. What native plant covered large expanses or areas of the Everglades? What plant replaced? Answer: Sawgrass, cattails 3. How many times higher are current phosphorus levels than the ones in the clean water act? Answer: 9 times higher 4. What is the range of phosphorus levels in the six stormwater treatment areas? Answer: 13 93 5. When will the phosphorus standards be met? Answer: There is no definite date. 6. What questions do you have about the articles?

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96 Homework Assignment 2 Official Lawsuit In the United States Court of Federal Claims COMPLAINT FOR JUST COMPENSATION Tips for understanding complex articles and other readings Read summary and important vocabulary first Some of the sentences are very wordy, and it is not necessary to understand each word to understand the overall point Try to just focus on the point of each paragraph, not each sentence by itself. Summary This is the official lawsuit submitted by the Rivers Coalition, a group of landowners who have come together wanting to improve the state of the water on their property on the St. Lucie Estuary. These people have not been able to use their land because of pollution that was not directly intended or expected. The Army Corps of Engineers has the job of keeping specific water levels in Lake Okeechobee. During the rainy season in Florida, the Corps must release water from Lake Okeechobee, through man made cana ls, to prevent flooding in areas close to the lake. The land near the lake is both agricultural land as well as developed city land. The water from Lake Okeechobee is released into canals that connect to the St. Lucie estuary. This release of water into th e Estuary is a pollutant and severely damages the ecosystem. Vocabulary for Official Lawsuit Plaintiff A person who has a complaint, makes a lawsuit and brings it to court. In this lawsuit the plaintiffs are people who live on the St. Lucie Estuary. De fendant A person who has a complaint brought to them, by a defendant, through a lawsuit in court. In this lawsuit the defendant is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, referred to as Corps. Riparian zone The physical area where land meets water; The area of land meeting a body of water (ie: shore line, river bank, etc.) Riparian rights The rights of all landowners whose house or other property is connected to a body of water have to use the body of water. The uses include swimming, boating, fishing, to put up structures such as docks, piers, and boat lifts. Estuary The area where fresh water flowing from a river or canal reaches the coast. It is an area of transition between salty ocean water and fresh water. This creates a mix of nutrients and sediments from both types of habitats creating a unique ecosystem. Estuaries are one of the most productive natural habitats in the world. They are often nurseries for fish and other marine animals. Estuarine Formed in an estuary. Salinity The saltiness of water. The salinity of a body of water is the measure of the concentration of salt in the water.

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97 Watershed basin An area of land, such as a lake or wetland, that pools large amounts of water. Dike Similar to a dam, used to hold large amounts of water back fro m land. Turbidity The cloudiness caused by small particles floating in water. Sedimentation The tendency for particles, such as sand, to settle and build up on the ground. The opposite of erosion. Brackish water A mixture of salt and fresh water. Degrad e To lower the quality. Biological dead zone An area that is completely without living organisms. This is usually caused by a lack of dissolved oxygen in the water. Official Lawsuit In the United States Court of Federal Claims COMPLAINT FOR JUST COMPENSATION 1. What activities have the plaintiffs lost due to pollution of the St. Lucie River Estuary ecosystem? Answer : swimming, fishing, boating, water sports, wildlife viewing 2. Describe the natural state of the estuary. What specific qualities show that the estuary is not polluted and is functioning properly? Answer: Freshwater inflows create a specific mix of salt and fresh water to maintain salinity levels that are depended on by the marine plants and animals that live there. Free of turbid freshwa ter, harmful algae, extreme sedimentation, and plant and wildlife degradation. 3. What effects do you think that higher turbidity levels have on plants and animals in the estuary? Answer: Higher than normal levels of turbidity mean that the water is cloudier than normal. This decreases the amount of sunlight reaching the bottom of the water where plants grow. This decreases the growth rate of the plants and thus there is less plants for animals to eat. 4. Where does the water from Lake Okeechobee normally flow t o? Answer: Water from Lake Okeechobee naturally flows south through the Everglades and is not historically connected to the St. Lucie River. 5. What is water from Lake Okeechobee used for? Answer: Water is stored in Lake Okeechobee so that it can be released later for irrigation. It is also stored there for flood control of agricultural lands as well as development. 6. Why is it being released through the St. Lucie River? Answer: The lake must stay below a specific height to maintain the integrity of the dike to make sure that it does not break and cause a flood. Before a hurricane

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98 Lake Okeechobee must be at a certain low level. At this time large amounts of water area released through the St. Lucie canal and river. 7. What is wrong with putting large amounts of w ater from Lake Okeechobee into the St. Lucie Estuary? Answer: The Lake water has high nutrient concentrations from cattle raising and agricultural runoff. The large volumes of fresh water disturb the balance of brackish water that is necessary for the estu arine ecosystem. 8. What effects does the lake water have on the estuarine ecosystem? Answer: Degradation of fish life, marine organisms, and critical vegetation specifically turtle grass. Large areas of the estuary are now biological dead zones. When the sal inity of the water is decreased too much from these releases, millions of oysters cannot survive and many fish cannot reproduce. Large toxic blue green algae blooms. 9. How were humans affected by the algae blooms? Answer: Just touching the algae could cause skin rash, runny nose irritated eyes. Swallowing the water would be similar to food poisoning and could endanger the lives of pets. Resorts cancelled water activities for 6 months. 10. Would the loss of these activities have price tag? Hint: Consider that if people still wanted to do water sports or other activities, they might go elsewhere that is not affects by toxic algae blooms. Answer: The defendants pay more to live on the water, and these activities from question 1 are something they do often in their o wn backyard. Consider the cost of driving to a water park, bringing their boats, paying for admission to parks for fishing and wildlife viewing, and also consider how often someone might do this during summer time in Florida. If people know that the water activities are cancelled it is likely that people will not go to the resorts. This has huge effect on business. Questions for thought Would it be very valuable to have another area of land to hold excess water St. Lucie Estuary? What are some ways that the water could be stored?

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