Streamkeeper's Field Guide, Watershed Inventory and Stream Monitoring Methods
By: Tom Murdcoh and Martha Cheo
Review: This book was developed by ecologists and field tested by teachers and community leaders. Field procedures covered include conducting watershed inventories, mapping stream features, wildlife and fish surveys, macroinvertebrate analysis, and water quality testing (data presentation and analysis). This thorough guide includes data collection tables and charts, and EPA procedures. a great reference for teachers who want to get involved in stream monitoring.
The Streamkeeper, a 27 minute video featuring Bill, Nye, provides footage of watersheds and examples of and explanations of the steps needed to get involved in streamkeeping: 1. Investigate 2. Inventory and Monitor 3. Take action. An excellent introduction for any class or individual who may want to delve into the ecology and current health of a local stream or river.
Other Information: Streamkeeper's Field Guide ($29.95) and The Streamkeeper Video ($19.95) are both available from Adopt-A-Stream Foundation, 600 128th St. SE, Everett, WA 98208. Members receive a discount. For further information or to order, call 425-316-8592, fax 425-338-1423, online at http://www.streamkeeper.org/catalog/index.htm
I can share with teachers what I have learned through my experience teaching classes in water quality at the Chicago Academy of Sciences. Of particular importance for work in schools are (1) important indicators of health in an aquatic environment (2) the most commonly used tests to assess water quality and (3) good techniques for assessing students' understanding of water quality monitoring throughout their experience.
In the fall of 1994, the North Branch Fire District offered me a tremendous opportunity. North Branch realized that the greatest hope for education would occur if we could foster a partnership between students and the community. Such a partnership would ultimately lead students to become active participants and valued members of the community.
We are two fifth grade teachers using wetlands to integrate math, language arts, social studies, science, research and study skills in heterogeneously grouped, self-contained classrooms. We use skills essential to the majors we pursued in college: analytical thinking, research, data collection, and locating resource people.
As the education coordinator at River Watch, I work with teachers across the country who use monitoring as a part of a vibrant, relevant, river study. In this article, I will briefly describe monitoring and the options available to teachers and review some the most common pitfalls to avoid.
Integrating sound practices of education, curriculum, and free thought have been challenges as my students and I practice inquiry learning in a thematic project by studying one of our most readily available aquatic environments: a ditch with water in it. Known by my students as the DEP (Ditch Ecosystem Project) our purpose is to study this environment in a scientifically sound way, answering questions that arise using data collected by ourselves and peers in prior years.
Math teachers are always searching for ways to make their subject "relevant" to the real world. Science teachers know students love the outdoors, but wisely want to make it more than just a "field trip." Learning how to use natural environments to collect, analyze and present data was the answer for both math and science teachers.
Drawing from my experience as a K-12 science teacher for 17 years, I have found stream and pond studies to provide the most natural multidisciplinary curriculum ever. From botany, biology and geology to social, political and economic concerns, from kindergarten to college students, no other resource taps into as many topics and excites as many people.
The teacher and I were frustrated. These seventh and eighth grade students had lived along the Hudson River all of their lives but still didn't "know" the river. How could we help these students feel a connections to their river and gain a better understanding of the complexities of scientific research?
A major strength of the Save Our Streams (SOS) program is the unspoken expectation that students can produce valuable water quality data and therefore share responsibility for the decisions and actions that determine the water quality in their community.