AG Charter School to assist water-testing programPart of World Water Management Day, locals test streams for pollutants and report findings for one month.

The Avon Grove Charter School and the Stroud Water Research Center will launch a program in which students take samples and participate in a World Water Monitoring Day initiative to screen bodies of water.

The program will launch with an event at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 23 at the Stroud Water Research Center. The event is open to the public.

The center has been a hub of research and studies geared toward maintaining and preserving fresh water since 1967.

Many research and educational projects are consistently conducted there, funded by various organizations like NASA, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Science Foundation.

Sandy Speakman and Susan Howard are environmental science teachers at Avon Grove Charter School. While researching grants, the teachers came upon the World Water Monitoring Day Web site. WWMD is a part of an educational program that encourages people to test and monitor the quality of water where they live.

While officially, World Water Day is on Sept. 18, students, citizens, universities and organizations take part in a month-long monitoring period to observe, test and record information. The results are then shared internationally.

Participants will be encouraged to take samples of local water bodies. The White Clay Creek, a Chester County watershed and site of various research projects at the water center, will be tested.

Classes visit the research center about two or three days every week and routinely run tests to gauge the health of the creek by identifying macro invertebrates, particularly mayflies, in the water. These organisms do not thrive in polluted water, so their existence is an indication of the creek's condition.

Kristen Travers is the Education Program Manager at the Stroud Water Research Center. She said the creek is used for recreational activities like hiking and canoeing. According to Travers, the creek is an important source of drinking water for roughly 120,000 people.

The teachers say the students respond well to the opportunity of hands-on learning and are always eager to visit the research center.

According to Howard, they "can understand the impact that they have on their environment."

Howard also said the students realize they have an effect on the health of the streams and creeks and take what they learn home to their parents.

Liz Brooking, director of communications and marketing at Stroud, said the activities and experiments at the research center facilitate in "creating watershed stewards."

According to Travers, the program also helps students "develop future skills" for careers in life by teaching the children to think progressively. She said they learn the importance of gathering information and collaborating with others.

"Businesses need creative individuals who can problem solve," she says.

Visit www.stroudcenter.org for more in-depth information about the programs and events taking place at the center.

Seventeen more cats removed from Chester County home

The Chester County SPCA removed 17 cats from a township resident's clutter-strewn home on Thursday.

This comes a week after the SPCA removed 37 cats from the same home.

The latest cat roundup occurred because the resident, whose name is not being released until charges are filed against her, did not meet the terms of the agreement she made with the SPCA following last week's animal removal.

The resident had told the SPCA that within a week she would get veterinary care for one cat that had severe upper respiratory problems. But as of Thursday, the cat had received no such care, according to Chuck McDevitt, a spokesman for the Chester County SPCA.

Of the 17 cats taken Thursday, seven were feral. McDevitt said those cats would have been removed whether or not the woman had obtained care for the sick cat.

Acting on a tip from a neighbor, the SPCA obtained a warrant that led to the Sept. 11 cat removal. The latest cat removal was also the result of a warrant.

SPCA agents had difficulty removing the cats because the clutter in the woman's home provided many places for them to hide, McDevitt said.

The woman, McDevitt said, is in her late 40s or early 50s and lives in a smaller single-family house with her husband, an adult child and two boarders.

McDevitt said the Chester County SPCA did not take all of the woman's cats last week because its shelter is already crowded with cats and kittens.

But because she didn't abide by the agreements she made with the SPCA, all of the cats are now out of the house, McDevitt said.

The woman gave the SPCA ownership rights of the 37 cats taken last week, but she did not give ownership rights of the 17 taken Thursday. This means that those cats cannot be put up for adoption until such rights are obtained.

The 37 cats from last week's roundup suffer from ear mites, fleas, malnutrition and gingivitis, McDevitt said. Some, which were given to the Delaware Humane Society, were also found to have ringworm.

SPCA veterinarians have not yet determined which diseases afflict the cats from Thursday's roundup.

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