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.|
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?