OMAHA – A group of high school students from Illinois will be visiting the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) campus for several days, beginning Friday, March 6, to collaborate with UNO’s Nebraska Watershed Network, and to share their own experiences running national award-winning science experiments with peers from Omaha-area high schools.
Led by their teacher, Paul Ritter, winner of the 2014 White House Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators, 8 students from Pontiac Township High School in Pontiac, Illinois, will host a meet-and-greet with UNO and Omaha-area guests at the Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center beginning at 2 p.m.
At the event, Ritter and the visiting students will highlight several award-winning projects, including the “Operation Endangered Species” project, in which students partnered with National Geographic to promote awareness of alligator snapping turtles, and the International Prescription Pill and Drug Disposal Program (P2D2), in which students learned the proper way to dispose of pharmaceutical projects and organized the disposal of more than 1 million pounds of materials.
The P2D2 project was named the number one environmental educational program in the nation by the United Nations and earned Ritter the 2012 National Environmental Science Teacher of the Year award.
Following the presentation, both Ritter and the students will discuss how similar projects could be implemented into K-12 curriculums across the region.
On Saturday, March 7, the visiting students from Pontiac will visit the UNO Elkhorn River Research Station. The station was built in 2012 to assist UNO’s Alan Kolok, professor of biology, and his students as part of the UNO Nebraska Watershed Network’s program to monitor chemical runoff into the Elkhorn River. Students will also be visiting Bellevue, Nebraska, at the site of the next research station within the Network, the Missouri River Research Station.
Later this summer, Ritter’s students will once again partner with UNO students as part of Lil' Miss Atrazine 2015 – a regional water-monitoring experiment seeking to record and identify levels of atrazine in the Mississippi River from Canada down to the Gulf of Mexico.
The Nebraska Watershed Network is a student-driven organization that works with local individuals, community organizations, schools and governments to design and implement projects in the Omaha-metro area that marry research and engagement for the common goal of higher quality water for all citizens.
Media are welcome to attend either event. For any requests, please contact Charley Reed, Associate Director of Media Relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 402.554.2129.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.