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Can Nutrients in Water Cause Harm?

Author(s): Nancy P. Moreno, PhD, Barbara Z. Tharp, MS, and Judith Dresden, MS.

Pollution in the Environment

In Mystery of the Muddled Marsh, the story that accompanies this unit, runoff from a new park development introduces soil and fertilizers into a marsh and stream ecosystem. These pollutants cause the water of Marigold Marsh to turn murky, and lead to an excessive growth of plants, green algae and some microorganisms. These changes threaten marsh animals and their habitat until Riff and Rosie (characters in the story) are able to solve the mystery. 

In this activity, students will see first-hand what happened to Marigold Marsh by observing the changes that occur over time when fertilizers are introduced to solutions of pond water. 


Funded by the following grant(s)

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH


The Environment as a Context for Opportunities in Schools
Grant Number: 5R25ES010698


Houston Endowment Inc.

Houston Endowment Inc.

Foundations for the Future: Capitalizing on Technology to Promote Equity, Access and Quality in Elementary Science Education