LJ Bell students step up to meet water challenge

Murphy-Brown crew aids students through testing process

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

* Photo gallery

LEDBETTER — The pH level was good — almost a perfect 7. The turbidity was low and the dissolved oxygen, at 4 parts per million, was right where it needed to be.

“I could drink this,” asked Jayden Tower, a third-grader at L.J. Bell Elementary School.

Not quite, said Mike Cudd. Cudd an environmental resource specialist with Murphy-Brown LLC in Laurinburg. After all, there’s the bacteria level to consider.

Cudd, who works in land nutrient management for the the livestock production subsidiary of Smithfield Foods Inc. — the world’s leading pork producer — said it’s important to keep tabs on water. It is not an infinite resource.

“Who here likes bacon,” Cudd asked the 100 elementary school students as part of the World Water Monitoring Challenge, an international education and outreach initiative designed to build awareness on the importance of protecting local waterways.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

At Castlewood Park on Friday, Ledbetter Lake was the test subject. Cudd was able to use a real-life example of erosion and project runoff. He pointed across the drained lake bed towards a boat dock under construction. That, he said, should have better runoff protection to prevent sand and dirt from getting into the lake bed.

Students tested pH levels, turbidity, temperature and dissolved oxygen. The lake’s health received a green light from Cudd and the students.

“Ledbetter Lake is pretty good,” Cudd said.

Groups of approximately 25 students each went through the main water testing station while other groups rotated between a craft under one pavilion and playing on the playground. It was, said L.J. Bell teacher Amanda Ransom, a fitting precursor to what the students will learn soon after the landforms section.

“I think it was fun,” said Ransom, who guided the students along with fellow teacher Kari Ross, Julie Currie, Dan Fugazot and Katie Trinks.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

For the second straight year, the students were engaged throughout the lesson despite the cool nip in the air. The lesson, said Ransom, exposed the students to the importance of clean water but also a potential career.

“I think it’s great for 21st-century learning,” Ransom said of the hands-on lesson outside of the classroom. “This gets ’em interested in water.”

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

 

 

 

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