With the melodic natural sounds of wetlands wildlife like bull frogs, robins and red wing black birds, the Read Mountain Middle School Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience took place on Friday May 4 at Greenfield property. The Cherry Blossom Trail, the Greenfield pond and the creek that bubbles past the trail were all part of the scenario. Erica Moore, the TMDL Technician/Education Coordinator of Mountain Castles SWCD coordinated the programs for the second year in a row. Last year, Central Academy 6th graders participated in similar activities.
Approximately 235 6th grade students (in 12 groups) visited 14 stations (two of each theme below). Students filled out journal pages for each of the 7 stations they visited – the activities were prepared ahead of time and community volunteers helped complete the projects with student assistance and in put. The amount of knowledge was incredible and shared by those in the community who could teach as well as impart water quality information. Three community volunteers, Sandy Hunter, Cathy Charity and Louise Jargowsky, led a team of sixth graders through the chemical testing of pond water to see the general health of the pond at Greenfield.
At the water quality station, a bit of chemistry was performed. Measurements included turbidity, Ph, oxygen level and temperature. A group of four 6th grade boys Charlie Dooley, Zach Heldreth, Benny Ford and Matthew Benson quickly and efficiently performed the testing under the watchful eyes of not only the three volunteers, but also Math teacher Tracey White.
Dooley was quick to provide answers for the tests. After shaking a vial for four minutes he reported, “The oxygen level is “4.” Heldrith announced the PH level at 7. Both numbers are indicators that water quality is good. Perhaps the most fun was watching the micro biotic life dashing around in the bucket- full of pond water dipped to use for testing.
The station themes were:
Wetlands (soils and wildlife)
Riparian Forest Buffer
Students brought bagged lunches and enjoyed a day in nature learning what helps and what hinders clean water –one of the Earth’s most precious resources!