On October 23-25th 2018, Oak Creek Watershed Council hosted Verde Valley students at Red Rock State Park for Water Quality Field Days. Six middle school classes, a total of 160 Verde Valley students, attended WQFD and participated in being “Citizen Scientists” and environmental stewards for their local waterways. Oak Creek Watershed Council partnered with the UofA Cooperative Extension Mobile Water Quality Lab.
Students learned many different water quality sampling parameters, such as how to collect and process samples for E. coli. Students were able to make the connection of how E. coli can become present in our waterways and why it is problematic. Students learned how it can be used as an indicator for other harmful bacteria and what other factors that can increase E. coli presence (sedimentation, fecal contamination), and how they can be harmful ecologically. OCWC engaged students about environmental stewardship by explaining the Leave No Trace ethics. Students understood the importance of spreading the word of “pack it in, pack it out” in order to keep our waterways clean.
Students also had the opportunity to learn what a bioindicator is, and how macroinvertebrates or aquatic insects can be used as a tool to understand the overall health of waterways, in addition to their importance in the food-web. Students worked together to collect insects and then identify them. We had a “disturbed, ripple” sampling area and then a “pristine, glide” sampling area allowing for students to observe the differences in both habitat type and disturbance. We determined that there were significantly more species present in the slower moving, pristine sampling site. We were so very impressed by the kids’ passion, dedication, and enthusiasm for both science and the environment. Keep your eyes out for Oak Creek Watershed Council’s 2019 Water Quality Field Days!
Supported by grants from:
Thank you to everyone who participated!