The Arizona School Board Association has named Payson High School science teacher Beverly Adams as runner-up for a Golden Bell Award for an East Verde River water quality project.
Adams has run the project, started by former science teacher Cindy Pool, for four years. The Salt River Project helps with funding.
“It’s pretty nice,” the 27-year-old Adams said of her first award.
Adams takes her classes — mostly ecology, but other students participate — to various points on the East Verde River, testing for water quality. Students have tested acid levels, along with water depth and width.
They inventory signs of life, from which students can deduce the water’s health.
This year, the classes started examining the surrounding ecosystem and also tested the water for bacteria found in animal feces.
“One of the sites we thought was clean wasn’t,” said Adams. She declined to divulge the location, saying that the initial test results might be a fluke.
Payson Schools Superintendent Casey O’Brien nominated Adams.
“Mrs. Adams’ project allows students to experience real field work. This would be unique at the undergraduate level, much less for high school students,” said O’Brien.
Adams was one of 50 teachers nominated statewide.