The calm, shallow waters of Pattee Pond, in Winslow, are popular among waterfowl and human vacationers. But beneath the gently lapping waves, there are problems. In years past residents interested in improving the lake’s water quality had reached out for help from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). But without hard data, the request went nowhere—until 2008, when students from Colby’s Environmental Studies (ES) Program assessed the health of Pattee Pond in a course called Problems in Environmental Science.

The students’ detailed findings helped the community earn a $110,000 federal grant to clean up the lake, said Russ Cole, Oak Professor of Biological Sciences and director of the ES Program. “Students are engaging with the community and helping to solve problems.”

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