Tenth grade Water Challenge Ambassador shares passion for protecting the Chesapeake Bay with fourth graders

Reid Chapman ‘23 has been named a Water Challenge Ambassador by EarthEcho. This honor gives a select cadre of young environmental leaders from across the United States the opportunity to receive training on how to conduct vital local water monitoring while collaborating with other young people who share a passion to protect local waterways. In addition to water monitoring, the ambassadors are tasked with educating others about the importance of waterway conservation. Not only did Reid receive training in how to test the water of the Chesapeake Bay, he attended virtual workshops focused on organizing events and educating people in his area about water conservation These workshops were led by veteran water challenge ambassadors and members of the youth leadership council. “It was amazing and inspiring that many of the people who were running this were kids within four years of my own age,” stated Reid.
 
While he has been testing the Bay’s water on a monthly basis since early summer, he is most interested in implementing water conservation ideas that are unique to Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay; specifically by testing water quality right before and right after rainstorms in order to ascertain the impact the watershed has on the Bay. “I don’t think people in the watershed understand the impact their runoff could have on the Bay’s health considering the watershed stretches all the way up into New York,” said Reid. “So I think it's important that people understand how much of an effect they have not only on the Bay but also on people who then rely on the Bay.”

To complete the educational requirement of his ambassadorship, Reid visited Key’s fourth graders, who are currently studying the Chesapeake Bay. He discussed with them the importance of maintaining the health of the Bay and worked with them to properly test its water. 

Earlier in the morning of the visit, Reid went to Hillsmere Beach and filled a bucket with Bay water which he brought back to campus. The students were divided into four groups, each conducting one of four crucial tests to ascertain the health of the Bay. These tests comprised measuring for:

  1. Dissolved oxygen levels (the amount of oxygen present in the water) -  Low levels of oxygen result in dead zones.
     
  2. Ph levels (the acidity or alkalinity of the water) - A level that is out of the normal range will be harmful to the plants and animals living in the water. 
     
  3. Water temperature - A temperature that is out of the normal range will be harmful to the plants and animals living in the water. 
     
  4. Turbidity (water clarity levels) -  Suspended solids cause the water to be more turbid because the very small particles scatter light. Clear water reflects a healthier Bay.

The fourth grade students had a good foundation for Reid’s visit as they began their Bay unit by learning about the unique ecosystem of the Bay’s brackish water which is caused by the mixing of freshwater and saltwater. 

Inter-divisional interactions in the classroom are important hallmarks of Key’s education. Although COVID-19 has made the full expression of those connections extremely difficult, Reid’s socially distanced visit continues this important tradition. 

Congratulations to Reid for earning the distinctive role of Water Challenge Ambassador and working to preserve and protect the body of water we all love and rely on: The Chesapeake Bay!