This week both classes met at a local park for another Ranger led class. Ranger Amy started with a discussion of water sheds, where the water in the stream comes from and where it ends up. She asked the students what kinds of things should we look at to see if the stream is healthy?
After walking down to the stream students were divided into two groups and given a clip board with some data sheets to fill out. First they recorded their location (GPS coordinates) and the date/time. Students were given thermometers to measure the temperature of the air and the stream. They also had to look around for possible sources of pollution that could end up in the stream.
We also measured the oxygen level (darker blue means higher oxygen level – healthier stream) in the water and used 9 in 1 water testing strips (which are now sold as 10 in 1) to measure pH, nitrates, nitrites, copper, lead, and more. Students gathered water samples in small containers, dunked the strips in their samples and compared their results to key.
Lastly, Ranger Amy handed each student a strainer and they spread out around and in the stream to scoop up critters. We recorded the number of each species that was caught, mosquito larvae, water striders, mayfly nymphs, snails, etc. Here are some photos of our finds.