Tucker River Fellows GPS program partners with Outdoor Chattanooga


First-year members of the Tucker River Fellows program hosted representatives from community organizations on the GPS campus for a presentation and feedback session as they work to refine a new project on the importance of healthy watersheds.

Designed to prepare future leaders to understand and impact the conservation of the Tennessee River, Tucker River Fellows is a multi-year after-school program funded by the GPS board of directors and named after former director Randy Tucker. Fellows are selected before their first year and spend part of the summer and after two academic years engaging in experiential learning about the many issues impacting their local watershed. They also learn about the historical, ecological, political, economic and aesthetic importance 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 commissioned Outdoor Chattanooga to create educational materials and lesson plans that show local challenges with drinking water. . Outdoor Chattanooga saw the project as a great opportunity for the Tucker River Fellows program and asked for our help.

The first year fellows jumped at the chance, starting with research and field trips so they had an understanding of the topic. Then, 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 rains. Mr. Will Glass, director of GPS Makerspace, played an important role in helping the girls complete their prototypes.

The finished model will work in tandem with newly created lesson plans that show local challenges with drinking water. Once completed, the project will be hosted at Outdoor Chattanooga and can be accessed, both formally and informally, by local educators.

After evaluating each prototype and making improvements, they selected their best performing model and sought advice from local experts. Ms. Couch explains, “We invited community organizations to see our third prototype, share their feedback on what should be included in the final model, and request a location-specific ‘lesson plan’ that can be shared with. teachers. “

Fellows will finalize these materials this week during exam period and then deliver them to Outdoor Chattanooga. “We hope to include the Spanish Club to help us translate some lessons into Spanish,” Ms. Couch said.


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