Our Integrated Science Program incorporates real-time data from real-world STEM professionals who are doing the research and tackling some of the world’s toughest challenges. Quite literally, our program emerged from the field, not a textbook. We depend on our STEM expert practitioners to peer review and guide our content development. Several years ago we began working with EPA Region I Director Hilary Snook and University of New Hampshire Professor Shane Bradt, who were developing a crowdsourced data collection app for community science applications. Algal blooms are sometimes harmful and sometimes not, but their presence in local ponds, lakes, streams, sloughs and coastal areas may indicate ecological problems.

Snook and Bradt developed the Bloomwatch app to encourage community scientists to capture bloom data and submit it on the app. The geospatial data may be shared with local water departments and experts who can help manage the situation and monitor algal growth. We soon developed a DIY Field Trip for teachers in our program to send students into their local communities and parks to gather data. Hilary and Shane even Zoomed in with teachers to learn about the data submissions!

Fast-forward to 2023, and the Bloomwatch App is now transitioning to the FIRST crowdsourced data source EVER to be managed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)! Members of our EduChange Team participated in the Beta Test. The new app will be released in early 2024 and our classrooms will be READY to implement!! The ESRI data are wonderful for helping students understand how maps are built in layers. We are committed to teaching Data Science at the intersection of Environmental Stewardship, and Bloomwatch highlights the connections among Federal and Local agencies for students.  This brings the UN Sustainable Development Goals into focus. Congratulations to Hilary and Shane for making their vision a Federal reality!!