Students from Oakville
On Thursday morning I was joined by Land Trust volunteers Janet S. and Ted E. to help with student field studies at the Discovery Trail. While we waited for the bus, a bald eagle sat atop the closest fir and spread his wings to dry–something neither I nor Janet had seen before.
Teacher Chris Stockman brought the eighteen 8th graders out for science studies; he was focused on water quality testing while our focus was more general—river ecology and riparian health.
We began with a short introduction to the trail and the workbook. The workbook has an aerial picture of the trail so that everyone could orient themselves (north, south, east and west) and also what areas were riparian restoration. The 14-year-old trees just north of the shelter are always an eye-opener when told how small they were when planted.
Then small groups were formed to walk the trail and learn about the plants, trees and wildlife of the riparian area. In my group, there was little interest in plants but the slugs and green frog were interesting. Another group saw a small snake and learned they could not take it home.
At the south end of the trail and the beach we all gathered to explore, throw rocks, and discover large mussel shells and very small clam shells. Then the testing materials were distributed so each small group could perform a test. The students tested for dissolved oxygen, turbidity, and coliform levels. Each group then presented their results to the others.
A quick walk back to the shelter and a little time to chat, sketch, and play games preceded a wrap-up discussion and a round of applause. We all termed it a success. It was a busy morning at the Discovery Trail, and the rain held off until the bus left!