Hambright Elementary School has been named a 2023 Watershed School of Excellence by the Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Educators for its efforts to teach students about the impact of watersheds on the environment.
Hambright was praised for “providing student-centered learning experiences that engage students through hands-on investigation of local environmental issues.”
Fourth-grade teachers Bradley Showalter and Katherine Harnish accepted the award on behalf of Hambright at a ceremony in March. Both teachers, along with Kelley Groff and Ay’Shia Gaston, completed watershed education training in 2021 under a partnership with Millersville University, Virginia Wesleyan University and Norfolk Collegiate School.
At Hambright, teachers incorporate lessons about watersheds – land areas that channel rainfall and snowmelt to creeks, streams, rivers, and, eventually, to the ocean – in their classes.
Students learn how to identify a watershed and how water moves within these areas. They also study the Hambright campus and use a computer simulation to determine how surface changes would improve the watershed. Students also have conducted studies of water quality and aquatic macroinvertebrates in the Little Conestoga Creek at Maple Grove and Charlestown Parks to determine the health of local waterways.
Hambright also participates in the “Trout in the Classroom” program, in which students raise trout from eggs and release them to local waterways to reinforce the idea of environmental stewardship.
Mr. Showalters’ students painted the storm drains around the school to let people know that only rainwater should go down the drains.
In Ms. Harnish’s classes, students completed a water challenge, encouraging their peers to try to reduce water waste. By doing things like turning off the tap when brushing their teeth or taking a shorter shower, Hambright students pledged to save nearly 15,000 gallons of water for the week.
Ms. Groff’s classes also conducted a litter cleanup and analysis. They determined what litter was found most often on the school campus and created a public awareness campaign in the school to decrease littering.
The Hambright teachers were hailed by the PAEE as “passionate, determined, and innovative educators.”
Congratulations to these teachers, and to Hambright Elementary, on this award.