Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Biology Canoe Trip

The Water Quality SPLASH grant that I wrote (and won) this year has really paid off in student learning experiences.
SPLASH grants are competitively awarded water resource education grants funded by the Southwest Florida Water Management District or "SWFWMD".

Recently, my tiny biology class of 6 kids went on a canoe trip down the Waccasassa River to look for macroinvertebrates and test the water quality.
We had a great time and the kids learned a lot about rivers ... and themselves ... on this trip.

One of the things we did was survey the river inhabitants to see what they could tell us about the water quality.

We found vertebrates like this hogchoker sole in shallow, clear running areas.

Every rock or submerged log held a wealth of macroinvertebrates like this nymph

Although it wasn't in my grant proposal, we all stopped to pull trash and litter out of the river as we drifted downstream. I didn't have to tell the kids to do this, they just did it.

The school has 6 good canoes and we only needed 3 on this trip since the class has only 6 students.  I took my kayak along as the "Teacher Mobile".
In the picture above I have loaded up with former river litter that I pulled from bank and bottom.

The next day, we sorted all of the river litter into separate categories.

The data showed an abundance of recyclable aluminum cans had been removed from the river.
 I wish I could show you the neat pictures of kids paddling canoes, portaging canoes, but I don't post recognizable pictures of my students online. You might see their hands here at PF, but not their smiling faces.

This is no easy river, shallow here, deep there, twisty like a rat snake eating a mouse, and loaded with logjams and obstacles to steer around or climb over.

It was fun to watch each team of two maneuver their canoe as obstacle after obstacle popped up around every bend.

The weather was great, the kids learned more about water quality testing, the water quality itself seemed very good according to our tests, and we left the river a little cleaner than we found it.

And we had fun ... did I mention that part?


Dawn said...

Thank you for helping to keep Florida Beautiful and giving kids an opportunity to participate. Those folks that trash our waterways, beaches and natural areas have no respect or appreciation for our wildlife or other people.

jbrunk said...

And how much does it cost to fund an outing like that?


Caroline said...

I finally get to work in Ecology class with one of the most awesome teachers in our district next year. Looking forward to South Dakota style outing like this. This year they raised rainbow trout from eggs and released the fingerlings. Can't wait.

Mark P said...

It's great that the kids took it upon themselves to help clean up the river.

lisa said...

I can never understand why people have to get rid of their garbage that way! It really p's me off! Not that hard to wait until you get home to get rid of garbage in a bag. Love to see when kids go the extra mile to help clean up the land and WATER!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a very fruitful and productive outing. Great kids. And I was glad to read the water quality was good.

Lynn said...

Good for you for making the river a better place after you passed thru it.

Aunty Belle said...

Fun learn in' stays wif' the brain the longest. Lucky kids to have. A dedicated Nature lover and teacher

Ricky Hanson said...

RickyHanson says, I wish everyone would take out the trash instead of throwing it wherever they please. Thank you for your effort and for bringing this to the attention of your students, every little bit helps.