Aug 7, 2014 12:41 AM
Stream Safari Spring and Summer 2014
Stream Safari kicked off the spring season with a very motivated 3rd grade teacher Sara Cantrell from Maple St. Magnet School in Rochester. Cantrell's class of 20 had been studying water this school year and she wanted to culminate the study with the Stream Safari program.
We integrated the Stream Safari program into the final unit of the year, Mrs. Cantrell would teach some of the lessons in her class and I would visit once a week to do stream field work.
Our sampling lead us to find an abundance of macro-invertebrates, of which came out of both the intolerant, moderatly tolerant and tolerant groupings and our abiotic tests showed that the Cocheco river stands in "fair" condition.
If you happen to be into letterboxing and would like to check out the 12 or so boxes hidden in Hanson Pines Park and to learn more about water, rivers, watersheds and the Cocheco River, please contact Sara Cantrell, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As soon as the Maple St. Magnet School Stream Safari program was wrapped up, I began working with the Nashua Boys and Girls club. I started with a training of 17 interested after-school professionals who wanted to learn about Stream Safari, environmental education and how to get involved.
|Final activity on how human development impacts a river, "Sum of the Parts", Project WET.|
|A group of students receive their 4-H Stream Safari certificates.|
|Therese Mehrmann teaching about macro-invertebrates.|
|Derek Burkhardt teaching a game on adaptations.|
Derek Burkhardt, a recent UNH Manchester graduate and Therese Mehrmann, entering her senior year, have joined me this summer as Stream Safari program assistants. Both have taken biology classes and are seeking to further their careers into STEM education. I am thrilled to have them part of the program and working with the kids. It is also a wonderful opportunity for partnerships to build within the UNH student community.
At first glance, the Salmon Brook, which runs through Nashua, seemed lifeless. There is a small current, lots of shade, but there was so much mud! I can't tell you how many times we have lost boots, sneakers, nets and sometimes even have gone for an unexpected dip into the water.
|Students shaking their test tubes for abiotic testing.|
But through this we have found many living things lurking on the banks. Frogs, crayfish, scuds, dragonfly nymphs, mayflies, whirligigs, snails, worms, and even some fish! The kids, who have little experience mucking about in the water, are enjoying learning about the stream and are beginning to love the smell of stream water on their hands.
As we continue our program through August, we are fine-tuning the lessons and activities for the variety of learners we are encountering. The rest of the summer should bring excitement and hopefully more critters to be found!
|Brainstorm of what a watershed is.|
The Boys and Girls Club, Charlie Collinson is having a thrilling experience bringing his group of 15 kids to the Mines Falls Canal, where again we were very unsure of what we would find. We trekked through the fields with our equipment only to find a wonderful array of macros and fish.
|Attempting a crossing without losing a shoe!|
We conducted our physical testing and found the water to be very low in dissolved oxygen, average pH, and high in nitrates and phosphates. Which lead us to believe that the water was not as clean as we hoped. But still, we found many living things lurking among our feet. The group is looking forward to their next trip to the river next week!
|Camp Director, Sam Goodspeed helping students identify macroinvertebrates.|
As you can see, we are very busy in Nashua, but with a little planning, collaborative partners and enthusiastic group of kids, we have already learned so much about the streams and waterways in Nashua.
Posted by Sarah Grosvenor, UNH Cooperative Extension STEM Field Specialist