Take Action: Remaining Engaged
Now that you have finished your stream study and understand the importance of physical, chemical and biological monitoring using benthic macroinvertebrates to examine the health of your local river or stream, get active in your local schools and communities and try out some of these cool projects
1. Write A Newspaper Article in Your School/Local Newspaper!
|Source: St. Charles Garnier Public School Wall Design, (2014).|
- Get involved in your local community paper or even the school paper! If you don’t
- have one, why not create an environmental blog or website where you can share what you learned about benthic macroinvertebrate monitoring and the links it has to stream health.
- Raise awareness on the piece you have written by posting links on social media and through school morning announcements!
- Check out what your Press Releases and Newspaper Articles could look like here.
2. Vlog/News Report Video
- You can create a video in the style of a News
Report where you and your classmates report on the findings of your field site and get some great In-Action footage on your field day to showcase to your school. Check out some great work students have done in the past!
- Check out the video that Grade 6 students from Palermo Public School have done in the past here.
3. Mock Watershed Report Card Write-Up
- Interested in seeing how your findings reveal a bigger picture?! Use the data your class collected to compile together a watershed report card. Grade your stream’s surface water quality and use the diversity indices calculated from the collected BMIs to help you understand how they present a picture on the condition of the stream.
4. Arts and Communication Projects with Benthics
- Feeling artistic. Get your creative juices flowing by joining together what you’ve learned from your engagement in EcoSpark’s Changing Currents program and stay committed to taking action! Here are some suggestions:
- Benthic invertebrate comic strips
- Write and sing a song. Maybe even use an existing catchy tune and come up with your own benthic based lyrics. Feeling courageous? Why not share it with EcoSpark? Send us a video and you could be featured on our website.
- Create a poem
- Star in a play that could focus on depicting the different life stages/cycles of BMIs or maybe create a play about Benthic Superheroes!
- Benthic Monologues! Why not tie in what you learned with your english class and present on a specific BMI’s life epiphany. Can your classmates figure out who you are?
- Take a more hands-on approach and design biodegradable models of healthy vs. deteriorated streams. Want an extra challenge? Use only biodegradable materials!
5. A Population Dynamics Report on the Benthic Communities you Found
|Source: Greenwood Conservation Area, (2013).|
- Tie the Changing Currents program back to the classroom with the specific Grade 12 curriculum link to the study of population dynamics involving benthics!
- Write a report on the different indices used to calculate diversity. These include the Hilsenhoff Biotic Index, and the Benthic Aggregate Assessment that takes ten different indices into account. Access EcoSpark’s Water Quality Calculator.
- Bring your considerations into an ecological context and report on how local land-use practices may be impacting the results obtained by the indices.
|Source: Greenwood Conservation Area, (2013).|
6. Stream to Shore
- An analysis of local nearby land uses and the importance of riparian areas to watersheds.
- A report that looks into the land uses surrounding the watershed and how that could potentially be impacting the results.
- This report could also focus on the impact of riparian zones for watershed health and how students can involve their local communities in increasing, maintaining and protecting the riparian areas in their local streams.
7. Design a long-term water use plan through an in-class Mock Community Meeting
- Students can analyze how communities deal with water shortages and how it will be distributed. They may also study how the water quality may be affected by the creation of their plans.
- Students can take on different roles in the community as different members of the public with different interests/conflicts in the creation of this plan
8. Investigate an Aquatic Invasive
- Create an “UNWANTED” poster or an “AQUATIC CULPRIT” poster and briefly summarize the history, distribution, life cycle, management issues and potential solutions for dealing with an aquatic invasive.
9. Classrom Debates
- Hold a debate relating to benthic macro-invertebrates. These could include but are not limited to:
- For and against the construction of dams in rivers and their implications on biodiversity and benthic diversity levels
- For and against the use of BMIs as biological indicators
- For and against intensive urbanization around watersheds
10. A Student Run Interactive Workshop
- Engage in your learning experiences by leading an interactive workshop with hands-on activities to present to your fellow classmates on a variety of topics including the importance of monitoring your local watersheds!
Engaging in the Changing Currents program is a meaningful experience for students. Now build on your learning by trying one of the projects described above or get creative and take action in your own way! Share your work with us and we may feature it on our website!
Carina is an Environmental Education Assistant with the Changing Currents Program at EcoSpark. She is passionate about aquatic ecosystems and educating young minds on the connections between land and water. She recently graduated with a degree in Environmental Studies from York University and a diploma in Ecosystem Management Technology from Sir Sandford’s Fleming College, School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences.