WKU CHNGES partners on karst groundwater education project in Texas
- Author: WKU Center for Human GeoEnvironmental Studies
- Author: Wednesday, February 28th, 2018
Through funding received from the Wells Fargo Environmental Solution for Communities grant program, the San Antonio River Authority and the Edwards Aquifer Authority, the team will develop a groundwater campaign modeled after the success of similar campaigns being pursued in the Southwest Florida Water Management District of Florida (SWFWMD) and in Bowling Green (UnderBGKY.org), which are projects led by WKU faculty members Dr. Leslie North and Dr. Jason Polk.
WKU faculty, staff and students will assist in this project through the development of data-driven educational materials that can inform those persons living in the region about the importance of karst landscapes and the sensitivity of the Edwards Aquifer region’s groundwater resources to contamination. These education materials will include the development of interpretative signage, infographics and a website for the campaign. WKU will also assist with branding of the project to ensure consistent messaging is provided to residents and visitors to the Edwards Aquifer region and the intent of the project is clear.
The faculty team from WKU will use this partnership as an opportunity to continue to research the most effective means to communicate science about karst landscapes to members of the general public. Various data, including eye-tracking data on the visual design of created materials, will be collected throughout the project, and these data will eventually be collectively analyzed with data collected through the SWFWMD and UnderBGKY campaigns. Outcomes assessment measures and reporting will also be completed by students and faculty at WKU.
Dr. Leslie North, project lead, said: “I am very excited to for the opportunity to expand the karst groundwater awareness campaigns to another karst region. We are thrilled the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance reached out to us to help develop this project. They are wonderful partners. Although we know teaching about karst landscapes require a unique educational approach, the scientific community still is not sure about the most effective educational strategies to use to maximize learning about karst landscapes, particularly in informal learning environments. So, this partnership is an invaluable opportunity to not only educate the population living in the Edwards Aquifer area, but also to collect more data about effective means of communicating about karst. Our students will be able to gain valuable hands-on experience developing and assessing outreach projects.”
To read more stories about the Edwards Aquifer region, including many of the challenges they face which are strikingly similar to those faced in Bowling Green, and the project, visit https://aquiferalliance.org/.
Visit UnderBGKY.org to learn more about local karst landscape.
Contact: Dr. Leslie North, firstname.lastname@example.org or (270) 745-5982