Conservation grant enabled students to get hands-on education

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By The Staff

To the editor:

On behalf of St. Edward School, Northside Elementary School, and Harrison County High School, we would like to thank the Harrison County Soil and Water Conservation District for their generous grant, which afforded us the opportunity to participate in a water watch stream project on Edgewater Pike on Monday, May 19.

The students searched the creek for pollution sensitive, less pollution sensitive, and polution tolerant macroinvertebrates (critters you can see without the use of a microscope). Fortunately, biodiversity was present, indicating that the quality of the water is quite good in terms of ecosystem stability. Tests for temperature, pH, and oxygenation were also conducted with favorable results.

This field trip was especially beneficial to the students because it was entirely hands-on and interactive. Students were prepared for what to look for in the stream and how to judge the quality of the water based on what they did and did not find. One particularly educational aspect of the project was finding crayfish, which some students had never seen.

While virtually all field trips are incredible opportunities since they help students realize that education extends far beyond classroom walls, we feel this experience was particularly advantageous because of the first-hand awareness and internalized learning it promoted.

Furthermore, we feel this was a unique and wonderful partnering of public and parochial, elementary and secondary teachers and students.

Aside from having to wade through rather chilly water, it was a pleasant way for the students to explore their community and world. Hopefully, it will help them to be good stewards of our natural resources so that the quality of our local enviornment will continue to be healthy.

Leigh Ann Hushfield, integrated science, HCHS

Jeanie Royse, 4th grade, Northside Elementary

Alson Cole, 4th/5th grade, St. Edward School