May 20, 2018
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UMaine, Maine schools awarded $750,000 grant to study stormwater runoff

Gabor Degre | BDN
Gabor Degre | BDN
Bangor Schools Superintendent Betsy Webb.
By Nick McCrea, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — The University of Maine will collaborate with schools in Bangor, Lewiston, Auburn, Portland and students from Maine tribes to study stormwater runoff and document its effect on pollution in local rivers and streams after receiving a $750,000, 3-year grant from the National Science Foundation.

The UMaine award was announced Sept. 17 by NSF as one of five projects aimed at broadening STEM participation through regional improvements to education and human resources infrastructure, according to the university.

Bangor High School issued a news release about its involvement in the grant opportunity on Thursday.

It is expected to involve approximately 180 Maine high school students and 45 teachers in hands-on projects led by science, technology engineering and mathematics, or STEM, professionals in areas such as engineering design, science, computer modeling and information technology to monitor and map water quality around several Maine communities.

Students at all levels of the Bangor school system will use this project as a learning opportunity, according to Superintendent Betsy Webb.

Kindergartners will learn about where Bangor’s water comes from. First-graders will learn how to tell if water is clean. Second-graders will learn about filtration.

“We want to make sure to boost our STEM education to all students,” Webb said.

Stormwater runoff has become an important topic in Bangor and other Maine cities expected to meet stringent federal regulations. Bangor has had to implement a stormwater runoff fee in order to cover the costs of significant upgrades to prevent polluted runoff from entering Bangor streams.

The school says the grant will provide students with real-world experience and problem-solving strategies in science and engineering of all disciplines.

Correction: An earlier version of this article requires correction. The University of Maine was the recipient of the grant in September and is collaborating with Maine schools. Bangor High School had issued a press release that incorrectly stated that the high school was the recipient of the grant. Bangor High School will be one of several schools partnering with the university for this research.

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