STEM is a common acronym in the field of education for the
integration of science, technology, engineering, and math. The idea is to combine these four areas in lessons that use real world problems and require students to utilize all four disciplines to solve. There is a big push for more STEM education in order to prepare our
students for careers in these fields, as the United States wants to be an innovative leader in the global economy.

FOR supports the STEM initiative through our education programs, including Student Stream Team and A River Runs through Us. Students use STEM to plan and implement restoration projects along the Rappahannock River. For example, the Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School is installing a living shoreline at the new Port Royal pier. This project addresses STEM education by solving the real problem of controlling erosion and protecting the shoreline.

Science: Students learn about water quality issues in the
Rappahannock River. They investigate stormwater runoff and how it affects the health of the river.
Technology: Students use tools to measure the site, such as survey equipment. Installing the project will require using restoration
technology. A Filtrexx sock loader will be used to create the “logs” where the protective vegetation will grow. These socks will also
prevent erosion while the vegetation matures.
Engineering: Students use the measurements they take at the
restoration site to plan for the project. They draw designs for the site based on the data they collect.
Math: Students calculate the volume of runoff associated with various land covers. They measure the site and calculate how much material will be needed to complete the project.

Encouraging students to pursue careers in STEM fields, especially those related to the conservation and protection of our natural resources, is important to FOR and our river!

By Daria Christian, FOR Assistant Director and Education Director

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