Friday, October 14, 2011

Selah Intermediate School Field Trip to Adobe-Wenas Pond

About 50 sixth grade science students from Selah Intermediate School travelled by bus to Adobe-Wenas Pond, located behind their teacher's home in Selah, WA. After a short walk to the pond, students began their five observation and investigation stations.

One station was searching for amphibians in the pond. WATERS fellow, Sara Healas, and biology professor, Dr. Steve Wagner, came to help students learn about and find frogs. Two frogs were found, and one salamander. Many students ended up very wet, but still had a fun time wearing waders and boots in the water!

Another station taught students how to find snails, then describe and measure them. The teacher, Mrs. Ranger, and WATERS fellow Jonathan Hegna assisted with this process. Students used large nets to catch snails, then observed them up close before releasing them back into the pond.

A third station was designed to teach students the basic method of taking field notes. After a brief introduction to this process, students dispersed into a field and observed sights, sounds, temperature, smells, and other parts of their surroundings and documented them in their science notebooks. WATERS School Liaison, Leah Irwin, facilitated the field notes process.

Students rotated to their fourth station, which was to catch invertebrates, then identify and describe them. Some of the things found were woolly caterpillars, a very unusual-looking spider, grasshoppers, and some aquatic insects as well. WATERS fellows Kelsey Johnson and Jonathan Hegna assisted at this station.

The fifth and final station was doing water quality testing. Students practiced measuring nitrate, dissolved oxygen, temperature, and conductivity levels in the pond water. Geology professor, Dr. Carey Gazis, and WATERS fellow, Renee Holt, led this station.

When students had completed all requirements at all stations and cleaned up their areas, they all retreated back to their teacher's property for lunch on the lawn. The weather had become sunny and warm so anyone who was wet could begin to dry out!

Before loading the bus to return to school at the end of the field trip, students did a scavenger hunt to look for certain types of vegetation in the area.

Overall, a fun time was had by all--even the teacher, Mrs. Ranger, agreed with that!

Students will debrief and analyze some of their pond data in the days after the field trip. Thank you to Mrs. Ranger and WATERS fellow, Renee Holt, for organizing this amazing trip for students, and to all WATERS personnel who helped out!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Harrah Elementary Ecosystem Fieldtrip

Dale, Dan, and their 5th graders headed out for a fun and sunny fieldtrip to explore some local ecosystems and get acquainted with some awesome birds!
The first stop was to a local pond ecosystem where students, with their chaperons, were allowed to explore the ecosystem. Students were provided with a "scavenger hunt" list of items to look for, but were allowed to explore anything that caught their eye. It was an exciting time of pure exploration and inquiry! We saw tadpoles, a turtle, looked at what types of plants grew near the water and in the water, investigated where the pond's water source was, and collected a number of interesting water bugs. One of the chaperons was incoming WATERS fellow, Meilani, who will be working with Mr. Estock next year!

The next stop was the Yakima Arboretum. We were provided with exploration backpacks and allowed to explore the entire arboretum as guided by an ecosystem map. In the different ecosystems we could ask questions from the guide book and look for interesting plants and animals.

Our last stop was to the Raptor House Rehabilitation Center in Yakima where we were invited to learn about falconry and even met some of the birds that are kept at this location. We learned about falconry and about local falcon species. A couple of lucky students had the chance to help fly the falcons.

It was a great end of the year fieldtrip!!

A special thanks to the Yakima Arboretum for hosting us.
And the Raptor House Rehabilitation Center for the fantastic tour and demonstration!

Morgan Middle School Reecer Creek Fieldtrip

In collaboration with Mid Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group, WATERS fellow Jamie took Morgan Middle School 6th graders on a great fieldtrip to visit the Reecer Creek Restoration project at Irene Reinhart park in Ellensburg.
Students measured stream parameters like depth and velocity, searched for flood evidence, learned about the restoration project, and even helped plant some seedlings!

It was a great opportunity for students to invest and learn about restoration happening in their own backyard!
For more information about Mid Columbia Fisheries and their projects visit their website at

Monday, May 16, 2011

Cle Elum BioBlitz 2011

The 2nd Annual Cle Elum BioBlitz was a great success! Although we were all a bit concerned that the snow might still be falling on BioBlitz day, the weather relented and we actually enjoyed some sunshine and bare soil!
This year, fellow Amber took the lead as the organizer of the event and did a great job collecting the supplies and providing detailed instruction and training to both students and volunteers.
The BioBlitz gives students at the middle school a chance to head outdoors to designated plots and collect a variety of data including soil, flora and fauna, as well as collect detailed observational data.
Expert scientists were available to help students identify plants and other interesting features of their plots. Watershed club students were also on hand and highly trained to help organize each plot and ensure correct measurements.
A special thanks to all the volunteers and teachers who helped make this day possible. And for all the great scientists who collected another year of plot data!

Geography Day Fieldtrip...One More Time!

Jamie and Mrs. Zentner took their second semester classes of 6th grade science students to CWU for a Geography Day Fieldtrip!
Thanks to some brave and stylish chaperons, students were able to walk from Morgan Middle School to the CWU campus in a timely and safe manner.

Once again, students participated in three stations during the afternoon:

GPS scavanger hunt, including a tour of the CWU greenhouse.

Introduction to GIS.

Stereoscopes and airphotos, lead by WATERS mentor Dr. Lipton.

Once again, students were excited to visit CWU and use some of the tools geographers and scientists use! Another successful fieldtrip!