R-H Stream Study Field Trip

R-H Stream Study Field Trip
Posted on 03/29/2017
R-H Stream Study Field Trip

Ecology students from Mrs. Davis’ and Mrs. Dunnavant’s classes traveled to a local stream in Drakes Branch to experience hands on research to compliment classroom instruction on fresh water uses, sources and pollution.  The stream studied by the students is a tributary of Twitty’s Creek which is on the list of streams currently being evaluated for TDML (total maximum daily load) in Virginia.  This field trip is part of an ongoing program between Randolph- Henry High School, the Southside Soil and Water District, as well as the Charlotte County Extension office.

Students were given the opportunity to visually, chemically, and biologically monitor the stream to determine its overall health. Bob Jones, Charlotte County Extension Agent discussed the parts of the stream, the physical attributes, and how they play a part in the overall health of the stream.  Julie Hamlett and Tricia Mays, Southside Soil and Water Representatives, discussed the chemical and biological features of the stream.  Students were asked after each assessment to form a hypothesis as to the health of the stream based on the evidence collected.   

As with any field experience, it is always a mystery as to what will be found, but an array of macro invertebrates and other organisms were caught by ambitious students, while their fellow classmates anxiously watched them from the stream banks or the bridge. Using nets on long poles, seines, and bare hands, students stream organisms and classified them into one of three groups:  Group 1- sensitive to pollution, Group 2 – somewhat pollution tolerant and Group 3- pollution tolerant.

Possible pollution sources were discussed including factors that would affect the pH, turbidity, phosphorus levels, nitrogen levels, and dissolved oxygen levels.  Vocabulary words and lecture notes came to life as the tests were performed in a real world situation and at a local stream where neighboring students lived.

Everyone who attended thoroughly enjoyed this meaningful watershed experience and the hands on learning opportunity while making community connections. 


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