Submit water data to the EPA

WaterBot users and friends,
The EPA announced that it is inviting the public to submit information related to hydraulic fracturing, in support of its study on the potential impact on drinking water resources throughout the country.  This could include: data, studies, scientific analyses and other pertinent scientific information.  This will support the EPA to inform current and future research and ensure a robust record of scientific information.  Check the Federal Register  for more information.  We encourage all citizen scientists out there to submit your data and stories. 
Deadline is 4/30/2012.

Waterbot Installation-2nd Attempt!

The waterbot pilot team of Rick Sharpe (Huntingtin High School) and Brian McNeal (Cabell Midland High School) went out Sunday October 7th, 2012 and installed 2 waterbots along fourpole creek in Huntington.  Fourpole creek is a large creek that runs through the center of Huntington including through Ritter Park. Rick and Brian will be utilizing the data captured by the waterbot and incorporating it into their science classes where they already teach water quality. The waterbot will be a great addition to their curriculum and plans to install a third in Martinsbug, West Virginia with a local science teacher there are in the works. 

Waterbot Pilot at Marshall University- Summer 2012

A summer waterbot pilot was held with two science teachers from Huntington High School and another teacher from Cabell Midland High School on July 24th, 2012. Pat McKee, Rich Sharpe and Brian McNeal already teach about water quality in their classrooms and will be using waterbot throughout the year to monitor local watersheds in several different areas. A blog has been created to record findings and share results with others (  Once established, future plans include training additional teachers in multiple areas. 

Harless CREATE Satellite Has Year-End Celebration

The June Harless Center for Rural Educational Research and Development, College of Education at Marshall University, held a year-end celebration showcasing Harless CREATE Satellite projects on May 17, 2012 from 6-8 in the Memorial Student Center’s Don Morris Room.  

Featured projects included: the GigaPan Outreach Project, Arts and Bots, Hear Me, and Message From Me. In addition, a new WaterBot project was introduced.  GigaPan enables students to take GigaPan panoramic images of their communities and activities and share them with peers across the world. Arts and Bots is a customized robot designed to integrate technology, literature, and history through the use of art supplies, circuit boards, lights, motors and sensors. Hear Me seeks to amplify kids voices using media and technology to create a world where kids are heard, acknowledged and understood, thereby giving them the power to inspire change in their lives, communities and the world. WaterBot is a citizen scientist project that prototypes a low-cost, easy and mobile method to monitor water quality, empowering communities, educators and children to monitor their watershed systems.



The Harless CREATE Satellite grant, which was funded by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, provides rural Appalachian schools continuous and seamless access to technologies, educational resources and ideas generated at the CREATE Lab in Pittsburgh. In addition it enabled teachers to integrate cutting edge technology into existing curriculum.   

Schools showcasing projects are from the Marshall University Professional Development Partnership Schools and include the Early Education STEM Center, Huntington High, Kellogg, Guyandotte and Ceredo Elementary schools, Beverly Hills, Milton, Barboursville Middle schools, as well as Cherry River Elementary in Nicholas county, Beverly Elementary in Randolph county and South Point High School in Ohio.



Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy WaterBot Expedition!

Taiji and Sage installing the first WaterBot.

Hello CMU Create Lab! I was involved in the installation of WaterBots in Frick Park, and was asked by Jessica Pachuta to write an entry for the blog. I hope this is okay!

On Saturday March 24th, after being delayed by torrential downpour and flood warnings, we were finally able to install the final 5 WaterBots in the 9-mile run watershed. Jessica from CMU’s CREATE lab, Taiji from PPC, and myself (Sage, a high school student externing at PPC) spent the entire afternoon setting up the bots. The adventure took 5 hours of tromping through the creek in (leaky) waders, countless zip-ties, and a pit stop at McDonalds, but the weather was great and we all enjoyed being outside!

I’m a senior at the Ellis School, and this year I had the opportunity to have an externship with the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. This spring, in addition to being a crew leader at several of the PPC’s volunteer work days, I am going to collect data and monitor the WaterBots. So far, there have been some technological issues which hopefully have already been solved! A far more concerning issue is the missing WaterBot. WaterBot 0009 has mysteriously disappeared, though fortunately all the others are exactly how we left them. Hopefully a reason other than theft will present itself, but considering how well it was anchored down, other explanations seem unlikely. But despite this dilemma, I'm very excited to get to work with the CREATE Lab's WaterBots this spring!


-Sage Lincoln

WaterBot featured on The Climate Code blog

in a guest post by Prof. Illah Nourbakhsh

"Six counties are preparing to take on WaterBot on a larger scale in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, epicenters of the Marcellus Shale drilling controversy. As schools and citizen groups take this on, adopting local waterways, measuring them and sharing the data using Fusion Tables, we believe citizens’ abilities to directly impact policy will be greatly amplified, armed as they will be with real data that is easy to visualize and communicate in powerful ways." read the full post

Another successful WaterBot installation

On Thursday December 8, CREATE supported the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy to pilot their first WaterBot in Frick Park.  The Parks hope to use it to monitor CSO (combined sewage overflow) from nearby storm drains that have long been a concern in the 9-mile run watershed.  The Parks will use WaterBot as part of their service learning programs, in which youth participate as eco-stewards and volunteer time to clean up the streams.  The weatherproof Bot is secured to a t-post in the ground and the sensor, attached to a cable, floats in the stream, collecting data every 15 minutes.  We look forward to growing the pilot program in the Spring!

After a short picnic of cookies and hot chocolate, Taiji Nelson wades into the creek to determine the best monitoring spot:  somewhere the Bot could be concealed to prevent tampering, but also get the most accurate readings.  Below, Taiji and Max Buevich from CREATE Lab drive the t-post into the stream bed.

A successful installation - the netbook is already picking up data transmitted from WaterBot!

CREATE pilots Waterbot with Loyalhanna Watershed Association!

WaterBot is a citizen scientist project that prototypes a low-cost, easy and mobile method to monitor small streams.  The water-sensing bot measures temperature and conductivity as indirect measurements of Total Dissolved Solids, indicating changes in water quality.  The data is transmitted from the bot and automatically uploaded to in real-time with the goal of empowering communities, educators and kids to monitor and log the effects of industry and pollution on their watershed systems.

On Thursday October 27th, CREATE visited the Loyalhanna Watershed Association in Ligonier, PA, the first to pilot and test Waterbot in a project monitoring the effects of Marcellus Shale Drilling on the streams, lakes and rivers.  The LWA will compare the data with other data loggers that they have been using and posting on their site:  
Josh Penatzer and LWA share their expertise in placing sensors and best practices for installing sensors to avoid damage from wind, ice and animals.  The CREATE Lab is excited to use these methods in the future to share cheap water monitoring technology.  A huge thanks to Josh and the Loyalhanna Watershed Association for all their work!
  Look for more information about Waterbot pilot programs and availability in the future.

A T-post installed in the stream bed is a stable way to install a water-sensor.  The post is tether to a tree or other object with a coated steel cable.  The sensor extends from the bot, wrapped in plastic to shield it from the elements, into the stream where it gathers temperature and conductivity data.

Josh of the LWA demonstrates methods for gathering data from sensors in streams with Max.  Right, the Waterbot sensor is weighed down and suspended in the water. 

The CREATE team with Josh's sensor post - Jessica P., Max and Dror!

By Jessica P. for CREATE Lab