It is not often that knee-high waterproof boots are on a supply list for class, but students in Anna Karls’ Water Quality and Human Health Service-Learning class certainly need them. Karls brings students out of the classroom to collect physical and chemical water quality data and water samples for bacterial analyses as part of the EPA Citizen Science project and the Upper Oconee Watershed Network Science and Monitoring activities.

The real-world impact of service-learning brings the classroom to life for freshmen Sarah Anne Herendon and Madison Crawford.

“You can know all the terminology and information about a subject, but true passion and long-term interest are sparked through involvement and practical application,” Herendon said.

The students learn about the importance of water quality on human health and meet with the researchers who are using their samples for water quality studies, including teams at UGA led by Liz Ottesen in microbiology and Erin Lipp in environmental health science, at the USDA by Jonathan Frye and at the EPA by UGA alum Marirosa Molina.

“It’s amazing as a freshman to go out and be involved in something that might have a real impact,” said Crawford. “It’s exciting and really broadening my horizon so early in my college experience.”