Although Newport Beach is a coastal community, it's sometimes easy to forget how much of an impact water has on everyday life.
From drinking water, to nourishing yards and taking a dip at the beach, water is all around. That's why Kim Rapp, a science teacher at Corona del Mar High School, has a passion for keeping water clean and helping students understand how to maintain it.
“Everyday [the students] are in contact with the coastal environment," Rapp said. "Being aware of the different conditions that are around them and being aware of some of the problems that human impact has on that part of the environment is important."
Rapp and her students are part of the local chapter of the Emergen-C Blue Water Task Force, which helps to monitor the bacterial and nutrient levels in the water around Newport Beach. Rapp has worked the Task Force into her curriculum for her 11th and 12th grade AP Environmental Science class, and shares information about its findings with her 7th grade students so they can become aware of the program as well.
What students do
Throughout the year the students go into the Back Bay to collect water samples in the creek as well as the estuary, and take it back to the classroom to measure the bacteria levels. The students routinely submit their findings to the Surfrider Foundation, who then posts the results online for the community.
"We'll get lots of sulfates and phosphates from run off of fertilizers, sometimes we'll also get really high ammonia counts which can actually have a high impact on the fish, which aren't able to survive in the area because the ammonia is too high," Rapp explained. "For the most part its the nutrients from the run offs of the homes in the area in the creek bed."
Rapp hopes that once students graduate from her class they will continue to inform and educate community members around them.
“Informing them on how much fertilizer they should use, and what kind of impact the run off from their yards and streets have," she said. "A lot do not realize that not using as much water as you usually use minimizes the runoff, which then helps protect our environment.”