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Our world, and our water, depends on STEM.
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These fields include jobs like civil engineer, water quality scientist, wildlife biologist, and many more. People with STEM training play an important role at the Water Bureau, where scientists and engineers keep an eye on the health of our system and the water it delivers.
Without STEM, who would engineer our city’s underground water supply pipes? Collect and analyze distribution performance data? Monitor and report on the quality of our city’s drinking water?
Last week was STEM Week Oregon, a time to celebrate and learn about all the ways science, technology, engineering, and mathematics plays a role in our everyday lives. STEM Week Oregon may be over, but here at the Water Bureau, our immersive STEM-related programs are in full swing.
Did you know that we offer a Water Resources education program where students engage in hands-on STEM activities all year long?
During the spring and fall of the school year, the Water Bureau’s education team takes students in the Portland area into the Bull Run Watershed for engaging STEM related field trips. Students get to tour one of the dams, witness the engineering feats of the 1920s, and learn about how our engineers today monitor the integrity of the dam.
How does a healthy forest relate to clean water? And how does a hydrologist, wildlife biologist, and forester work together to track the health of an old-growth forest? These are a few of the questions our young tour-takers explore.
Students can also take part in hands-on learning activities like conducting their very own water quality test. For this test, students observe how Water Bureau employees use a Kemmerer bottle to collect a sample of water. Then the students use turbidimeters to measure water cloudiness in the sample and record their data. It's a real-life exercise in STEM field work.
The Portland Water Bureau relies on STEM every day to get clean water to homes and businesses. And our educators love sharing the wonder and excitement of where STEM can take you, from the forest to the faucet.
Teachers, would you like to take your classroom on a tour of the Bull Run Watershed?
Sign up to take your class into the Bull Run by emailing WaterBureauEducation@portlandoregon.gov. And learn more about the educational opportunities at the Water Bureau by visiting the Water Resources Education webpage.