Guest post by Annabel Fiero and Myroslava Fisun

On April 24th, Bay Area EarthEcho Water Challenge Ambassadors, Lena Huang, Mykaela Barnes, and Annabel Fiero, and Youth Leadership Council Member, Myroslava Fisun, hosted an exhibit at the Bay Area Science Festival. Hosted at Oracle Park in San Francisco, the festival consisted of numerous scientific booths ranging from local nonprofits to large companies, all aimed at providing scientific discovery opportunities for children and families.

The EarthEcho booth was an extension of the EarthEcho Water Challenge, providing an opportunity for participants to test water from the local South San Francisco Harbor for temperature, turbidity, pH, and dissolved oxygen. At the temperature station, children enjoyed identifying which number turned green on the thermometer and this acted as a nice segway to the other 3 tests. Turbidity was a fun test for groups of people to perform in a short period of time while discussing the impact of this water parameter on participants’ favorite marine organisms. Both the temperature and turbidity results fell within a healthy range for this body of water. Dissolved oxygen allowed participants to get involved with the scientific process of water testing in a hands-on way, watching the water sample transform from clear to pale pink when mixed with a testing reagent to indicate the oxygen content. The pH test was the final test participants engaged in. They enjoyed watching the water sample turn from clear to green when mixed with a pH test tablet and engaging in discussions surrounding ocean acidification.

After testing the water for the four above-mentioned parameters, participants were engaged in conversation about protecting local waterways. The responses were posted on a poster next to the booth. Common responses included hosting more beach cleanups, recycling, and using fewer plastic bags.

It was a wonderful experience to get to engage the public on such a crucial issue and allow them to learn (or expand on previous knowledge) about ways to protect local water quality.

Over 400 people came to our booth to learn about water quality with us. We all greatly enjoyed this opportunity to impact so many youth and inspire them to protect their local waterways. We hope this event encourages more people to monitor their own local waterways and protect this natural resource.