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Hall County students earn certification to help care for Tumbling Creek
Lanier Charter Career Academy students earn Adopt-A-Stream certification
Brian Wiley, environmental monitoring coordinator with the city of Gainesville, leads Lanier Charter Career Academy students in water quality tests at Tumbling Creek. - photo by Kristen Oliver

Wading in a creek to measure oxygen levels and temperatures isn’t your average high school assignment.

But students at Lanier Charter Career Academy spent the last week along the banks of Tumbling Creek to earn their certification through the Georgia Adopt-a-Stream Program with the city of Gainesville.

Brian Wiley, Gainesville’s environmental monitoring coordinator, and Jennifer Flowers with Gainesville’s Department of Water Resources taught the class and helped the students prepare for the certification test.

“They have run the workshops,” said environmental science teacher Sheri Goss. “They were here three days last week and spent two days in the classroom studying and getting ready. And then one day we went out to the creek.”

Goss is teaching environmental science for the first time in about four years, so this is her first time incorporating the Adopt-a-Stream certification, she said.

The certificate is good for one year and allows students to do water testing anywhere, in any stream. It is designed to increase awareness of water issues and pollution, and it encourages the public to collect baseline water quality and observations.

It gives people, like these students, the training to protect their local waterway.

“They’ve enjoyed it,” Goss said of her students. “You can see that, and (Wiley) is great with them. They enjoy getting out of the classroom and doing things hands-on.”

Wiley said he has enjoyed working with the students, who took their certification tests Wednesday. Those who passed will receive certificates within a week.

“These are really, really good kids,” Wiley said. “Some of them you have to kind of get to open up, but they are all just really good kids.”

Goss said the program has fit well into her class.

“We do the water testing,” she said. “We talk about air pollution and look at the environment. We do some tests on cars students have and what kind of (carbon dioxide) their cars are putting out. We work with the horticulture class and with the child care, to do some Earth Day activities and things like that.”

Wiley and Flowers will continue to work with the students in the future, Goss said, to do some insect studies.

But for now, the certification gives the students the ability to monitor streams, particularly Tumbling Creek, which runs right through the Lanier Charter Career Academy property.

“Because it’s on our property, they kind of have some ownership, which is nice,” Goss said. “It’s theirs.”