With the start of a retransition from virtual to face-to-face events on island, WERI begins to participate in one of the first in-person events at UOG with the Northern Guam Soil and Water Conservation District’s Educators Symposium on Wednesday, Jul. 28, 2021. Two representatives from WERI, Dr. Nathan Habana and Kaylyn Bautista, presented a virtual tour of the Northern Guam Lens Aquifer (NGLA) and provided an overview of the Guam Water Kids program.
Dr. Habana was the first presenter of the afternoon, providing the audience with a brief history of the creation of the NGLA before taking the audience into a deep dive into the NGLA. The virtual tour submersed the audience beneath the surface of Guam, where they were able to see the freshwater aquifer and the straw-like wells poking through the surface of Guam.
Maps of the NGLA were also given to the educators in the audience as they continued to engage with the presentation with a mapping activity.
Kaylyn Bautista, a representative of the Guam Water Kids, shared resources and information about the program.
The Guam Water Kids aims to educate children on Guam’s freshwater source as well as the actions they could take to protect Guam’s freshwater supply.
In the past, the Guam Water Kids coordinators were able to conduct outreach in schools through in-person presentations and service-learning activities. Despite the setbacks of the pandemic, they continued to provide information packets and teaching materials. These include videos, presentation and worksheets, which are all available through an online medium – their website.
According to Bautista during her presentation, they are working towards updating the site as well as some of the educators’ materials on the website. One of these improvements include creating videos that are more geared to students in high school in addition to some of the existing material directed towards primary school grades.
Dr. Habana’s presentation with the virtual tour is unlike any of the previous tours prior to the restrictions posed by COVID-19 in the past year. However, these new in-person outreach opportunities have allowed WERI to introduce new features.
Bautista introduced her “Awesome Aquifer Kit.” This modeling kit was sourced locally by Bautista herself and is used as a tool for educators to help students visualize and learn about Guam’s freshwater source.
In Dr. Habana’s presentation, he introduced the new Web Map App, or “Web MApp,” which is accessible with a QR scan through a smartphone’s camera. This is one of the maps WERI is currently under the works and will be available on the Guam Hydrologic Survey’s website.