Browse Publications Technical Papers 2004-01-2419
2004-07-19

Education Outreach Associated with Technology Transfer in a Colonia of South Texas: Green Valley Farms Science and Space Club for Middle School Aged Children in Green Valley Farms, San Benito, Texas 2004-01-2419

Texas colonias are unincorporated subdivisions characterized by inadequate water and wastewater infrastructure, inadequate drainage and road infrastructure, substandard housing, and poverty. Since 1989 the Texas Legislature has implemented policies to halt further development of colonias and to address water and wastewater infrastructure needs in existing and new colonias along the border with Mexico. Government programs and non-government and private organization projects aim to address these infrastructure needs. Texas Tech University's Water Resources Center demonstrated the use of alternative on-site wastewater treatment in the Green Valley Farms colonia, San Benito, Texas. The work in Green Valley Farms was a component of a NASA-funded project entitled “Evaluation of NASA's Advanced Life Support Integrated Water Recovery System for Non-Optimal Conditions and Terrestrial Applications.” Two households within the colonia were demonstration sites for the constructed wetlands. Education was identified as a primary goal for many colonia residents, who view education as the door to opportunity and escape from poverty for their children. The educational outreach component of the project in Green Valley Farms was a Science and Space Club for middle-school age students. Involved parents, schoolteachers, and school administrators enthusiastically supported the monthly club meetings and activities. Each month, students participated in interactive learning experiences about water use and reuse in space and on earth. Activities increased knowledge and interest in water resource issues and in science and engineering fields. The Institute for the Development and Enrichment of Advanced Learners (IDEAL) at Texas Tech University provided full scholarships for five students from Green Valley Farms to attend the Shake Hands With Your Future camp at Texas Tech University in June 2003. The educational outreach component was evaluated in February 2004 using survey instruments for students and parents, and interviews with science teachers and counselors.

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