Focus on the Student Experience: River's Mend

Focus on the Student Experience: River's Mend

Fall 2015

| By: Britten, Casey T

Grad John Moyles is leading parts of a large-scale watershed project thanks to his hands-on education at Fox Valley Technical College.


It’s not hard to find students and graduates of Fox Valley Technical College’s Natural Resources Technician program at the forefront of any number of environmental projects around the community. For recent graduate John Moyles, he spends his summers as a naturalist and guide for 1000 Islands Environmental Center in Kaukauna, while also working on a major initiative to clean up the area’s waterways.

Moyles currently serves as the technical coordinator for the Lower Fox River Tributary Monitoring Project that is funded through a state grant and implemented by FVTC. He started working on this initiative in spring as a student before graduating. Moyles trains community volunteers to take water samples at several tributaries that flow into the region’s popular Fox River—one of the few waterways in America that naturally flows northward.

“By determining levels of chemicals and excess nutrients at the sites, we hope to identify pollution points,” explains the 36-year-old. “We’re involving volunteers to increase community awareness.”

Moyles, who is planning to continue his education in environmental science, has found what he learned at FVTC to be invaluable. “I learned how to do the same tests that I’m teaching volunteers to do,” he says. “I gained technical knowledge plus needed soft skills to work in a team, provide instructions and make presentations.”

Originally from New York City, Moyles moved to Menasha in seventh grade and immediately fell in love with the outdoors. “I discovered a passion for nature, animals and people,” he says. “The intersection of those elements is called natural resources.”

Water World

Several students from FVTC’s Natural Resources Technician program and individuals from other environmental agencies have joined forces to test the quality of the region’s water. The Fox River serves like a conveyor belt that carries high levels of phosphorus and other impediments into the bay of Green Bay and other watersheds.

Here is a snapshot of the significance of this large-scale project:

The testing of 14 streams, covering approximately 640 square miles from Lake Winnebago to the bay of Green Bay, involving more than 100 volunteers. Project organizers plan to share the results of their findings to the community by the end of 2015.