Ecology field trip

Brooke Fleming, Contributor

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Seniors in Mrs. Schmidt’s Ecology classes went on a field trip last Tuesday to Rice Creek in Fridley. Three classes of students partnered with the Anoka County Conservation and went out to the creek. Students grouped up, put on waders and scattered along the creek. They grabbed nets and went along the edges of the creek as well as deep in the bottom of the creek.

The goal of the trip was for students to find out if the water is or is not polluted and the level of pollution. Students would scoop up a netful of unknown species and dump the net out onto a tray. Then they would look for anything moving around to find different forms of wildlife. These organisms would tell us about the pollution based on these species tolerance levels of the pollution. Anything that they found, they would pick up with a tweezer and dump into a jar filled with alcohol to kill the organisms. The following day after the field trip, classes went through the various species found and identified them. They were able to determine that the creek was indeed polluted, but on a minimal level, which has decreased throughout the years.

Mrs. Schmidt has been taking her ecology classes on this field trip for ten years. She enjoys the opportunity to do science outdoors away from the classroom and loves being a part of something bigger. The data that the classes collect goes to the Anoka County Watershed District and they use it to monitor the creek. Mrs. Schmidt dislikes when the students take this unique opportunity for granted.

Aside from this field trip, ecology classes are able to learn from different habitats on school property throughout the semester. Students enjoyed the field trip because they were able to apply their studies into real life. Many wished they could have been at the creek for longer, but enjoyed the time and all the various organisms they found and identifying them later on in class.

“My favorite part was when my dear friend Brady Bertram and I would go through our findings in the little pan. It felt like we were pirates searching for treasure! “ – Ryan Hall

“I learned it is very important to see how to combat pollution in the water. I liked getting into the water and scooping out crayfish and other ginormous creatures.” – Zach Ban