Back to school with GRDA

Power for Progress…
A weekly column from the Grand River Dam Authority

Education under the arches … Elementary students, participating in a recent tour of GRDA’s Pensacola Dam, make their way up the powerhouse steps to get a closer look at the dam’s arches. In an effort to support all levels of education, GRDA has been giving Oklahoma students a “closer look” at its operations for many years.

Education under the arches … Elementary students, participating in a recent tour of GRDA’s Pensacola Dam, make their way up the powerhouse steps to get a closer look at the dam’s arches. In an effort to support all levels of education, GRDA has been giving Oklahoma students a “closer look” at its operations for many years.

As the summer winds down and students, teachers and administrators return to classrooms all across the region, the Grand River Dam Authority will also be gearing up for another school year.

In fact, a new academic calendar means new opportunities for the Authority to continue support of Oklahoma students at all levels of education. Through classroom visits, field trips and even internship programs, GRDA is able to provide up-close lessons on hydroelectricity, electric safety, ecosystems management and other topics.

Of course, with the word “education” already in its title, the GRDA Ecosystems and Education Center, located adjacent to historic Pensacola Dam in Langley, has been a valuable resource for the organization’s support of students since its doors opened in 2010. Since that time, hundreds of students from all ages – elementary to college – have visited the building. Not only is it the origination point for GRDA’s free, educational tours of historic Pensacola Dam but it has also played host to educational programs on hydroelectricity, lake and water safety, and even water quality and ecosystems management.

For many years, GRDA has also been an active participant in the “Third Graders Go to Work” program in Mayes County. Through this program, elementary students learn what it’s like to be part of the workforce while spending the day at participating businesses. GRDA has played host to the program at various facilities over the years, but the Eco Center has filled that role since 2010. Students take part in mock job interviews, learn about hydroelectricity production and electric safety, and hear from GRDA employees in various departments.

Back in the classroom, the GRDA “Electric Express” has been making appearances since 2008. A program designed to teach students about the basics of electricity, the “Express” can be modified to fit different age groups, from elementary to junior high. GRDA worked with educators to develop a program journal that introduces students to simple electricity terms and concepts. Plugsbee – a brightly colored mascot seen throughout the journal – offers “Guess Watt” and “Know Watt” features to give students the electric facts in an easy to understand format.

Finally, the Authority is also a resource for students completing undergraduate and graduate degrees. College interns, completing coursework in a variety of subjects ranging from graphic design to ecology, gain on-the-job experience and further their education as part-time members of Team GRDA. It is a beneficial partnership that supports education, strengthens partnerships with Oklahoma colleges and universities, and helps GRDA to meet seasonal and temporary workforce needs.

Together, all these education efforts help GRDA fulfill an important part of its mission to be a resource for the communities it affects, and the people of the state of Oklahoma.

Remember, school is in session. Your friends at GRDA remind you to please drive safely.

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