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Water: Middle School

Exercise II. Environmental Conflicts

Where to Look for More Information

Use as many sources of information as you can to learn about the issues facing your stakeholder group. To find out more, you can use the Internet, write to local officials, or look for similar stories in the newspaper.

Here are two fact sheets prepared by different sources, on issues affecting the Shenandoah River:

1) Shenandoah River Fact Sheet 1 (PDF)(4 pp, 15K, About PDF) Exit EPA Disclaimer (Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, a regional non-profit organization)

2) Shenandoah River Fact Sheet 2 Exit EPA Disclaimer (Potomac Watershed Partnership)

Farmer Frank's Fabulous Fertilizer Factory

After years of farming, Farmer Frank had grown tired of farming and is ready to try something new. He decides to convert his 100-acre farm into a fertilizer manufacturing plant. He applies to the city for the needed permits to change his farmland into a factory.

Farmer Frank thinks this will be easy. His land is located on the Shenandoah River, and he can use water from the river for his manufacturing needs. He has enough land for both the factory and the parking lot for the new workers, and the town will welcome the new jobs. What could be more perfect?

Well, not everyone is happy with Farmer Frank's plan. Environmental groups are worried about the amount of pollution that might be put into the river by Farmer Frank's factory. People who use the river for recreation are extremely unhappy about an ugly factory being built on the bank of their scenic river. Town residents aren't sure what to think. Some residents are happy about the new jobs, but others are worried about the increase in pollution. Local government officials are worried about following all the laws that deal with this kind of issue.

The town of Farmerville will hold a public meeting to give everyone a chance to talk about their worries and work on coming up with a compromise that will keep everyone happy. As a class, list the possible stakeholder groups in the box below. Then divide into groups, each representing a different stakeholder group. Fill out the "Meeting Preparation" worksheet to help you gather the information you will need for the meeting.

Stakeholder Groups

List all the possible groups that might be interested in attending the public meeting.





Meeting Preparation

Type of Interest Group:

What are your priorities and goals in this situation? What would you like to see happen? List them in order of importance if possible.


What are the benefits of your goals and priorities?


What are the drawbacks?


The Shenandoah River has a history of agriculture, industry, and pollution. How do you think the history of the river will affect your goals in this situation?


What laws will help you in this situation? What laws might make it more difficult to achieve your goals?


What other groups might help you achieve your goals?


What groups will be working against you?


What topics will cause disagreement between your group and the groups that oppose your goals?


What things might you have in common with the groups that oppose your goals?


What possible compromises might you be willing to make?



Middle Schools  |  Join a Stream Team!  |  Exercises: I  |  II  |  III  |  IV  |  V  | 

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