Through this program students learn about wetland ecosystems by studying life in a local pond or wetland (marsh or bog) – examining biological productivity, species diversity, water quality, ecological functions, and human uses and values.
The program includes in class and field trips. Using LaMotte field testing kits students will sample pond water for various parameters: pH, Dissolved Oxygen, Total Dissolved Solids, Nitrates and Conductivity. Using Dnets they will to collect and identify macro-invertebrates (aquatic insects/snails) – along with fish and aquatic plants. Digital compound microscopes (combined with iPads) will allow students to examine on-site, identify, document and count live animals collected before returning them to their habitat unharmed.
Data collected by each class will be recorded and analyzed by students back in the classroom. Using the analyzed data students will participate in discussions on the overall health of the pond ecosystem and develop a conservation plan (lead by Project Coordinator) that identifies:
– human actions that can threaten the abundance or survival of living things in wetland ecosystems; e.g., adding pollutants,
changing the flow of water, trapping or hunting pond wildlife.
– conservation/field trip activities that student groups can participate: including monitoring amphibian populations, controlling purple loosestrife, building and maintaining nesting boxes.
BBEMA’s Project Coordinator will be present in the field and school lab/classroom to provide consistency, assistance and guide (teacher/students) in compiling and analyzing the data sets. Prior to the field trip the coordinator will provide hands-on laboratory experience, in the classrooms, to teach the students/teachers how to use the water quality kits.