Water Quality

DUML’s Community Science Program on Water Quality

We offer a variety of water quality programs for teachers and students alike. The water quality programs were developed thanks to initial funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Estuarine Research Reserve System Science Collaborative (NERRS). Currently, the DUML Community Science Initiative offers:

    • Hands-on field-based water quality programs for middle school classes.
    • DUML’s Water Quality Curriculum for AP Environmental Studies (high school).
    • After-school water quality programs.

Middle school students sift for microplastics found in the sand

Hands-on field-based water quality programs for middle school classes

The hands-on, field based water quality programs for middle schools are offered in partnership with the University of North Carolina Institute of Marine Science (UNC-IMS) and Dr. Rachel Noble. These all-day field trips are based at the Duke Marine Lab and Rachel Carson Reserve and allow students to explore invertebrates, understand how storm water influences water quality, to discover what lives in salt marsh ecosystems, monitor water quality in the field, and understand the importance of producers and consumers to coastal ecosystems.

DUML’s Water Quality Curriculum for AP Environmental Studies (high school)

This curriculum  is part of an Environmental Education Research project with Dr. Kathryn Stevenson and KC Busch at NC State University and funded by SeaGrant NC. The program focuses on: i) how storm water affects local water quality, ii) how to ask scientific questions,  and iii) participation in citizen science (AdoptADrain.app) that is quantifying the amount of micro- and meso- plastics entering local waterways via storm drains. In addition, to the citizen science, the Water Quality Curriculum has extension activities and independent research ideas for high school classrooms.

Anemone ingesting microplastic during an experiment

High school students experiment with anemone ingestion of microplastics


After School Water QUALITY Programs

Teens at the Boys and Girls Club design storm drain art to deter marine debris input from stormwater runoff

These programs have been delivered in collaboration with NC Coastal Federation and are focused on fun, hands-on activities that connect kids to their local watershed through beach clean-ups, art projects, watershed activities and more.

If you are interested in becoming involved with the water quality program, click here to send us an e-mail!

Additional resources

Classroom Resources

Background Resources