Tucker River Fellows Program Partners with Outdoor Chattanooga

Grant money allows for community educational project
Last month, freshman members of the Tucker River Fellows program welcomed representatives from community organizations to campus for a presentation and feedback session as they work to refine a new project about the importance of healthy watersheds. 
Designed to prepare future leaders to understand and have an impact on the conservation of the Tennessee River, Tucker River Fellows is an endowed, multiyear cocurricular program started by the GPS Board of Trustees and named after former headmaster Randy Tucker. Fellows are selected prior to their freshman year and spend part of the summer and following two academic years engaged in experiential learning about the many issues impacting their local watershed. They also learn about the historical, ecological, political, economic, and aesthetic significance of the Tennessee River.
Science teacher and Tucker River Fellows Sponsor, Kayte Adams Couch ’92 explains how the project came to fruition. “The Trust for Public Land received a grant from the United States Environmental Protection Agency and tasked Outdoor Chattanooga with creating educational materials and lesson plans that show local challenges related to clean water. Outdoor Chattanooga felt the project was a great opportunity for the Tucker River Fellows program and asked for our help.”
The freshman Fellows jumped at the chance, starting with research and field trips so that they had an understanding of the topic. Next, they created various prototypes of a 3D-printed topographic model of the Chattanooga area that can be sprayed with water to show how land use affects waterways during rain events. Mr. Will Glass, Director of the GPS Makerspace, has been influential in helping the girls complete their prototypes.
The finished model will work in tandem with newly created lesson plans that show local challenges related to clean water. Upon completion, the project will be housed at Outdoor Chattanooga and can be viewed, both formally and informally, by local educators.
After evaluating each prototype and making improvements, they selected their most successful model and requested input from local experts. Couch explains, “We invited community organizations to view our third prototype, share feedback about what should be included in the final model, and request a location-specific 'lesson plan' that can be shared with teachers.”
The Fellows will finalize these materials this week during exam time and then hand them over to Outdoor Chattanooga. “We hope to include the Spanish Club for help with the translation of a few lessons into Spanish,” Couch says.