Fairfax County Earns 2015 National Achievement Award

June 9, 2015
For Immediate Release

Fairfax County Earns 2015 National Achievement Award

For the 4th year in a row, Fairfax County’s Stormwater Planning Division has been recognized with an Achievement Award* from the National Association of Counties** (NACo). The awards honor innovative, effective county government programs that enhance services for residents.

This year’s winner is Stream Crime Investigation (SCI) in the category of children and youth.  SCI is a high school laboratory activity that blends presentations with the hands-on experience of lab exercises.  The lab experience allows students to participate while they learn, and reinforces improved environmental behavior choices.

The program opens with an introductory presentation on stormwater, watersheds and the need for water quality monitoring. Then the lab exercise replicates aspects of stormwater science. The SCI lab is a hands-on exercise for high school students who learn how working stormwater ecologists identify and track the sources of pollutants in a storm drainage network.

Students assume the role of stream crime investigators, similar to a group of scientists who are tasked with tracking down the source of waterborne pollutants in a fictional town. Students use fictional hospital records to diagnose residents based on the symptoms of previous patients with waterborne illnesses.

While solving the mystery, students utilize real techniques employed by stormwater ecologists. A map is used to identify the stormwater drainage network. Students test water samples for various pollutants and track those pollutants through the network. They expand their working knowledge of watershed science, practice scientific thinking skills and have the opportunity to explore career choices.

The lab program relies on ‘kitchen chemistry’ or the use of food and benign household materials to safely reconstruct human reactions of hazardous chemicals not suitable for classroom use.

Also, they learn the role that Stormwater Planning Division employees play in protecting the county’s natural resources with a unique insight into a practical application of science in their community.


*Awards are given in 21 categories that include children and youth, criminal justice, environmental protection, health and civic engagement, among many others.

**The National Association of Counties  unites America’s 3,069 county governments. NACo brings county officials together to advocate with a collective voice on national policy, exchange ideas and build new leadership skills, pursue solutions, enrich the public’s understand of county government and exercise exemplary leadership in public service.

2015 NACO Achievement Awards

Contact: Irene Haske 
703-324-5821, TTY 711

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