Making a Difference

by Timothy Kosaka

Chloe Paago & Jack Dieter – taking temperature & pH of water.
Lupe Hernandez-Knapp, Brianna Hershey, Marcel Nichols, Michael Bowe – Marcel in the water taking samples while Brianna is putting them in the test vial, Lupe and Michael are waiting for results.
Jillian Lopez – (facing camera) analyzing results with her group.
Kerianne Kruger is testing the pH of the water.

SPANGLE, Wash., January 18, 2017  -  Students learn a lot through textbooks and lectures and through experiments and homework but Judy Castrejón, Upper Columbia Academy science and biology teacher, has a passion for making a difference for her students and for her local Spangle, Wash., community.

She invited Kat Hall, the financial administrator of the Washington State Lands Council, to educate her students about water pollution and the negative effects if no action is taken.

 “We are not just a school in the community. We want to educate our kids and help them to get involved,” Castrejón shared. Most recently, she involved her class in a project that, when completed, will have widespread and long lasting effects. “In this project, they’ll be bringing about healing to the ecology, but also to the community,” Castrejón added.

The project she is referring to is part of Washington State’s Riparian Establishment conservation project. It will help prevent pollutants from entering the Hangman Creek Watershed, a network of streams that runs right through the town that UCA calls home.

To help with the restoration, Castrejón, her colleagues, and many UCA students will plant bushes and trees around the creek building a buffer that will prevent pollutants from running into the creek thus improving the quality of the water.

 “The opportunity that we have been given to better our environment and community is a great and humbling experience,” shared Blake Johnson, sophomore.

Paul Tucker and Tamara Terry took the photographs.

Upper Columbia Academy is a co-educational boarding school operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. To learn more about the school go to:

To learn more about the Seventh-day Adventist Church, go to: