The students in Chris Bias’s science class entered the Samsung “Solve for Tomorrow” Contest in the fall. Proposing a project studying the Little Coal River, the students were voted 10th place out of nearly 3,000 schools across the country and as a result won $40,000 in technology for Madison Middle School.
The students began their project in early March. Teacher Chris Bias worked closely with Sara Cottingham of the Coal River Group to coordinate a six-week-long series of events focusing on the Little Coal River restoration. The first three events brought a wide range of experts to the school to present on topics including water quality, GPS technology, and stream restoration. Dr. Tom Jones of Marshall brought a GPS-wired robot for students to operate with an iPad in the classroom.
On Thursday, March 28, officials from the WVDEP, WV Conservation Agency, Stantec and CEC Engineering, and Appalachian Stream Restoration led a presentation on the $6 million restoration of the Little Coal River. The team of engineers and experts then led an afternoon field trip to three restoration sites at Lick Creek Park, Donald Kuhn Juvenile Detention Center, and the Waterways Loop.
The second phase of the Samsung project begins when the students return from Spring Break. Beginning April 9th, aquatic biologists from WVU and Marshall will lead three field trips in which the students will get hands-on experience testing water quality and monitoring the river. The project will then culminate with a tire cleanup on May 11 organized by the Little Coal River Branch of the Coal River Group.