Goose Creek Family Festival — An EPIC Challenge

By Julie Fisher, Fine Arts Department Chair

This past weekend, the Goose Creek Association (GCA) was finally able to host their Family Festival at the Aldie Mill. After having to postpone the event for a full year due to the pandemic, the GCA was able to safely celebrate the 50th anniversary of Goose Creek being designated as a Scenic River.

Back in 2020, the GCA partnered with our engineering class to design interactive displays to teach individuals from all age groups about how they can help preserve and protect Goose Creek, which runs through our campus. Our engineering course is designed to implement a curriculum developed by Purdue University known as EPICS, which stands for Engineering Projects in Community Service. Each semester, this class collaboratively designs a solution that solves a particular need in the community.
Foxcroft’s engineering students conceptualized educational games that detailed the processes of stream monitoring to test the healthiness of the creek and creating riparian buffers to provide plantings that catch run-off pollutants along the creek’s edge. Unfortunately, these student engineers did not get to see their visions realized, as the pandemic shut down their design progress just shy of the fabrication stage. However, those designs were finally realized by students enrolled this fall in the course "Topics in STEAM" (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math). 

The STEAM students’ first task of the semester was to pick up where the EPICS class left off and to bring their instructional games to fruition. With only two and a half weeks to prepare ahead of the festival, they benefited tremendously from the forethought and planning of their graduated predecessors. The STEAM class also enjoyed the benefits of seeing the games successfully put into action at the Festival. One member from each team reflects below on her experience.

Stream Monitoring Team
“We created a game to teach the families at the festival about stream monitoring...Kids had one minute to scoop and sort bugs from the stream (bins) and then we would count up the number of pollution intolerant, somewhat tolerant, and tolerant bugs to see how healthy their stream was. We got many congratulations at the Festival, and the families seemed to really enjoy it! I am really proud of the impact we made with our project and the work we put into it.” – Heidi D. ’23

STEAM Teammates — Emma B. ’22, Elise L. ’22, Chelsie E. ’22, and Elisabeth W. ’23
EPICS Teammates — Betsy A. ’21, Aglae H. ’20, Marina V. ’20, Emily Z. ’21, Hako I. ’21, and Joy W. ’20

Riparian Buffers Team
“I was able to show my artistic interest in this project as well as learning new technologies that can be used to help demonstrate an important cause...It was very rewarding at the end when we got to go to the Festival and actually put our hands-on diagram game into play. Little kids were learning the importance of the ecosystem and adults were wanting to know more about the educational outreach aspect of our project.” – Alexa C. ’23

STEAM Teammates — Marlow B. ’22, Eva Bret C. ’24, Cassie C. ’22, and Maeve M. ’22
EPICS Teammates — Liliana G. ’21 and Tess O. ’21
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An all-girls boarding and day school in Northern Virginia, Foxcroft prepares young women in grades 9-12 for success in college and in life. Our outstanding academic program offers challenging courses, including Advanced Placement classes and an innovative STEM program. Our premiere equestrian program is nationally recognized, and our athletic teams have won conference and state championships. Experience the best in girls' boarding schools: visit Foxcroft.