Learning About the River

imageThe Mighty Merrimack River is the reason the city of Lowell was born in the 1820’s. It is where we get our drinking water. It is a place for recreation, both passive and active. It is the pride of a community.

But, how much do we and our children really know about the river? Not much. We could read a book about it, but the Lowell National Historical Park has a better idea.

The Tsongas Industrial History Center, Lowell National Historical Park’s educational partnership with the University of Massachusetts Lowell’s Graduate School of Education, has been selected to receive a 2013 “Ticket to Ride” grant from the National Park Foundation (NPF), the official charity of America’s national parks.

The grant will allow the LNHP to offer outdoor educational programs for students in grades 7-10 from Lowell, Haverhill and Lawrence focused on how to detect the quality of water in the Merrimack River Watershed through hands-on experiments and activities.

During field trips to the Tsongas Industrial History Center, students will participate in the “Bridging the Watershed” program, conducting water quality tests and investigating aquatic insects to determine the health of the Merrimack River watershed.

“This grant provides local school districts with access to the Park to participate in an outdoor educational program, where they otherwise would not be able to come due to financial constraints,” Park Ranger Rebecca Lofgren said in a statement. “The students now have the opportunity to learn how to detect the water quality of the Merrmack River watershed, which is the source of drinking water for their households.”

The “Ticket to Ride” grant program, supported by $500,000 in funding from the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, provides for similar field trips to local national parks for 60,000 students nationwide each year.

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