This past Saturday, September 10th, 74 college students and community members throughout Eastern Kentucky participated in the Big Dip Redux. Collectively, volunteers sampled over 75 sites for various water quality parameters. This event was a 9/11 AmeriCorps VISTA National Day of Service project and was carried out as part of a more comprehensive Kentucky Community and Technical College System Service Learning Initiative that has the goal of increasing student success and preparation for the workforce. Headwaters teamed up with Southeast Community and Technical Colleges, Eastern Kentucky University, and Pathfinders of Perry County to successfully organize the 74 volunteers who tested 76 sites on Saturday. The testing sites were selected from the 1,660 original Big Dip sites that were tested between 2006 and 2007.
Southeast students studying various disciplines will analyze testing results from Saturday and compare the data with the Big Dip testing results from 2006-07. The students’ findings will then be shared with the public. Jenny Williams, a local organizer and English professor at Hazard Community and Technical College, says, “It’s science by the people, for the people.” This reflects the mission of Headwaters and aligns with the goals of the various learning institutions to get students critically thinking about water quality and concerns in our communities while also developing the skills to address these real world issues.
Headwaters and partnering organizations have the goal of making this fun day of service, learning, and science, an annual event.
To learn more about the Big Dip Redux and the Service Learning Initiative, check out the Mountain Talk that aired a few weeks back: https://www.wmmt.org/mtn-talk-monday-the-big-dip-redux/.