The Student Experience: A Look into Changing Currents
This blog was written by Lauren Fernandes, a grade 9 student at St. Joespeh Secondary School.
A few months ago my class took a field trip to a small part of the credit river to do a stream assessment. The workshop took place at The Riverwood Conservancy. I must say I was pretty excited. Being a grade 9 student in a class where I was still getting to know everyone, I figured this would be a great opportunity to become friends with my fellow classmates.
When we arrived at Riverwood we met the educators as well as the members from the Ecospark team. Once down at the river we were divided into groups and taught how to check the pH levels, turbidity, dissolved oxygen and the temperature of the river in that particular area. Once we had our data we got to walk through the river in hip waders and collect insects!
Once all groups had collected their data and had a chance to search for some bugs we headed back up to the MacEWAN barn were we tried to count and sort our little bugs.
The Ecospark team taught us that the number of bugs we collected-- which they referred to as Benthic Macroinvertebrates (BMIs)-- and the variety we found can reflect how healthy the credit river was in these areas. In order to make the study scientifically valid, our class would had to collect at least 100 BMIs. As a group we found well over 100 BMIs, and a variety of species, even a few stoneflies which can only live in clean conditions. Based on this data we were able to conclude that this area of the Credit River was in a fairly healthy state.
We concluded our day by examining some of the BMIs we found under a microscope. We found a mayfly which you can see pictured on the right. It was amazing to watch these fascinating little creatures move and to think of how significant their role in our environment is.
In the end, this trip was a great way to start our school year. We all got to learn a little more about the environment as well as each other. Through the knowledge we gained I'm sure many of us will, moving forward, start to take small steps to help protect our Credit River and all the animals that call it their home.
This program could not have been possible without the wonderful staff at The Riverwood Conservancy including Catherine Wassmansdorf, the L.E.A.D.S (Leadership in Environmental Achievements in Diversity and Skills) Instructor and the generous support of the Community Foundation of Mississauga. View the results collected by the students of St. Joseph's Secondary School on that day here!
Interested in participating in Changing Currents? Register on our website and become a part of a province-wide stream and river monitoring intiative. Check out our previous monitioring sites on our Changing Currents Summary Map.
About the Author: My name is Lauren Fernandes. I am currently a grade 9 student from St. Joseph’s Secondary School. I enjoy being out in nature and the EcoSpark experience was a great way to get to know more about the environment that surrounds us and to make new friends.