Friday, November 19, 2010

Its Geography/Freshwater Awareness Week!

Freshwater is an important resource!  In honor of Geography and Freshwater Awareness Week, check out these water facts:
  • The Earth is 71% water.  97% of that water is in the ocean.  That leaves only 3% as freshwater for all the plants, animals, and humans that use it.
  • 98% of the Earth's freshwater is locked up in glaciers or deep within its crust.  This means that less than 1% of all water is available for use
  • Aquifers are often mined faster than they can recharge
  • Water that is easily accessed is also easily polluted and requires extensive and expensive treatment before it can be used
  • The average amount of water a family in Asia and Africa uses in one day is a little less than 5 gallons.  An individual in the United States uses an average of 100 gallons of water a day
  • In some regions in Asia and Africa, typically a woman in the family is responsible for walking to the nearest source of water and carrying it all back.  The average distance she will have to walk and carry water is 3.7 miles a day
Water is a precious resource, lets take care of it!

Weed Field Trip!


Tuesday afternoon, I biked along the river to meet up with WEN for the to go teach the fourth and fifth graders of Sussex Elementary School about invasive weeds, and native plants. Even though it was a rainy, gloomy day, we arrived at the greenhouse near Fort Missoula to a group of happy, energetic kids. Leah Grunzke, of the Montana Natural History Museum was already busy telling the kids all about weeds that are invasive in the Missoula area, and answering their questions.

After the students (who had decided to go by the name the Hilarious Hedgehogs-why not?) shared some great stories and observations about weeds, we all climbed on the little Sussex bus and went over to the Nature Adventure Teaching Garden to see a native plant garden in action.

The students had become familiar with most of the invasive plants that now make up the area around Missoula in our previous trip to the loading dock and path area near the Osprey field. There, the students had split into groups, and with the help of WEN’s plant expert, Jesse Dwyer, WEN’s director, Josh Gubits, a few of WEN’sother staff members and volunteers, and the student’s teacher, Pam Ward, the students all were assigned plants to seek out and identify. Once the students had spotted their plants, they had to sketch them, and describe aspects of the plant so that they could teach their fellow classmates all about it. After each group shared a bit of information about their assigned weed, they got to see some examples of aquatic invasive weeds and hear about the effects of these weeds and how they might be spread. This really was a great way to introduce the students to the idea of sustaining a natural garden in the high desert area that we live in, and why native plants are so important to keep around.

Back at the Nature Adventure Teaching Garden with Leah, the students got to better understand the benefits of a natural garden, from the reduced need of water, to the benefits for the wildlife in the area (especially birds).  Leah now gave the “Hilarious Hedgehogs” their assignment, they were to explore the garden and find one plant that they thought was interesting that they could tell their classmates about. Immediately, some students ran up the small mound in the middle of the garden, some ran to the far end of the garden, and most ran to the giant hollow cotton tree that they had been anxiously eyeing since they first entered the garden. Five or ten minutes later, the group was called together, and some kids shared their favorite parts of the garden, and others shared what plants they found. One little girl in particular had found a Penstemon that was still in bloom!

The students climbed back onto the bus with a little more knowledge of the world around them, and it feels amazing to have been a small part of that. That’s why I can’t wait to return work with and learn alongside the Hilarious Hedgehogs of Sussex Elementary. Soon we’ll be hard at work on our own Native Plant Garden along the Clark Fork right in front of the WEN offices!

-Katie Foster 
Katie Foster is a stellar WEN volunteer and a student at the University of Montana

Friday, November 5, 2010

Milltown Adventures

What do you know about the site where Milltown Dam used to be?


This past week I learned a lot about the past and future restoration and rebuilding of the Milltown Dam site.  We were fortunate enough to have Mike Kustudia, from Clark Fork River Technical Assistance Committee, to give us the most up-to date news on the site.  The site is now being restored, and will be rebuilt into a State Park.  It was very interesting to hear the whole story from an expert, and it was really fun to see how interested the 5th grade students were, as they had already learned some of the story from Deb's class visit.

Mike points out where the restoration process is taking place

After the talk with Mike, we split the students into two groups.  The first activity was a geo-cash activity, which was very cool for the students because they were able to explore on their own and learn about how the different groups in the area were affected by the Dam.  The second activity taught the kids about the long and hard journey that Bull Trout have to make in order to spawn.  For a couple fun minutes, they turned into Bull Trout as they made their way through the obstacle course.  They had to watch out for predators, environmental conditions, and turbines to make it safely to their redd where they could finally spawn.  It was really fun to see how much the students learned by being active!  I hope we get to do another Milltown Field trip soon!

Erica Thye
WEN Fall Intern

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bonner Students Make Friday Afternoon Fun for a Weary Volunteer


Have you ever tried saying "blogging" ten times really fast? I don't blog, never done it before, don't know the criteria or restrictions but I gave it a whirl.
 
What happens when you mix a couple cups of water with an assortment of bugs and a batch of 6th graders at 67ish degrees for 2 hours? A fabulous Bonner field trip! ….and that’s all it took to turn a stressful school week into a happy Friday. Who wants to sit in a library writing up reports when there is an opportunity to listen to a kid try to explain how gills work? As one Bonner student put it, “Fish breathe with gills in their neck – like lungs only with water.” Sure, but what happens when they find out that mayfly gills are not on their neck. “Whoa! You mean they breathe from their butt?!” Well, not exactly their butt. *review head, thorax, abdomen* Yes, the biological station is always filled with exceptional comments and critiques. At the end, which was their favorite bug – “Mayflies, they swim like mermaids” and what did they learn – “That there are a lot of different things living in the water.” And we saw plenty of diversity (yes, word of the day) in our samples: lots of stoneflies, mayflies, a few caddis flies, a crayfish, and a tiny fish about the size of your small finger. It always amazes me how much these kids learn and remember. I always like to ask them what they learned from the previous station(s) and they don’t even hesitate in answering and sometimes they beat me to the end of the question. "What is the veloc-"-"3.2 feet per second"! "And what about dissolved ox"-"10 drops"! How’s that for efficiency? They waste no time, especially if they see a pair of waders. But equally important in helping these amazing kids learn about the awesomeness of the stream monitoring. A big part of the fieldtrip success is WEN's awesomely awesome team with Josh and Molly and me! They made this field trip even more amazing, like the cherry on the top of an ice cream cone, or like finding a grumpy little someone in their little stone case! …and you all keep asking why I’m still volunteering.

That's all I got -  I hope you have a fantastic weekend!
Al Pack
WEN Volunteer since 2007
 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Why Monitor Rivers?

Because it is important to understand what is in our rivers and how they are changing!  According to a recent Missoulain article, the Glacier Stonefly, is it risk of becoming endangered due to the effects of climate change!

Read it HERE

The Stonefly needs cold and clean water, so it is known as an indicator species in stream monitoring. 

Heading Up the Blackfoot

This past Sunday Stream Team had an amazing afternoon taking data on the Blackfoot River at the Angevine site. While our volunteers, Rob and Pam, started on chemistry, Maria, Steve and myself started setting up to gather stream flow data.  The weather turned out to be a pleasant surprise.  Standing along the Blackfoot, next to the cast of the mountain shadows, the sun lit up the water and made the scenery almost as pleasant as the warmth on my cheeks.  I stood up on a rock to get a better view of the river, watching it curve with the mountain line, and could not have been more happy that I had gone out to do Stream Team that day.

Once we were done measuring stream velocity and dissolved oxygen, we were ready to start collecting insects! As the waders collapsed around the shape of my legs, the water actually felt good, cooling me off from the warm weather.  After a couple of good collections we were ready to start sorting and identifying.  We found numerous stoneflies and caddis.  In fact, many of the stoneflies we found were the biggest I had ever seen, it was very exciting!

The river had a wide variety of insects and many healthy indicator species. The chemical and physical aspects of the stream also were in healthy conditions; we were very satisfied with the day.  Our day was one of the best Stream Teams yet this year, and I highly suggest anyone interested to get involved, because otherwise you'll be missing out on great days such as this one!

Megan Girsch
WEN Autumn 2010 Intern

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

WEN in the News!

The Ravalli Republic came to cover our field trip with Victor School yesterday.  Check it out and learn more about us and the work we do in the field!

Watershed Education Network teaches Victor students keys to a healthy river system

Field Trips are for Adults too


I’ve always liked field trips, ever since grade school. As an adult, I’ve looked for ways to continue learning outside of the class room and have my own field trip adventures.
My training for stream monitoring for the Watershed Education Network, (WEN) was such as adventure. I joined 20 or so other volunteers at Greenough Park on Rattlesnake Creek recently to learn the stations that are presented as part of WEN’s field trips. There are 3 parts, Biological, Chemical and Physical.
My favorite part of the whole activity, was the waders. I so rarely get to wear them and I dig any kind of special gear for a project, gloves, hard hats or waders. I put them on immediately after being given them and was reluctant to take them off. I was wearing them way before we went into the water.
The waders were needed in the biological station where we took nets and stood in the middle of the stream to kick up bugs. You do this by doing what amounts to “the twist.” You make sure to twist really deep into the river bed, stirring up lots of dirt and bugs that then flow downstream into you net that you have dug into the dirt down stream from you. You then take this net back to the table where you have buckets of stream water ready and you rinse out all the detritus from the bottom of the net. After all of this debris has settled, you take a plastic spoon and search for bugs. We found caddis flies, mayflies, and stoneflies. The purpose of this activity is to catch the bugs in order to count them, thus determining how healthy the river is. We put them into easily countable trays (individual section of ice cube trays) and then record them on the data sheet. The more variety of species, the healthier the river is. I loved having my nose right up to the bugs, the squirmy, long horse fly larvae and dark, solid bodies of stoneflies.
When we were done wit this station, we moved onto chemistry.

The last station was the physical station. We measured the river’s velocity, by clocking how long it took a tennis ball to travel down a measured section of the river. We also measured how far across the river was and how deep at foot width increments. 
This was a great training and we have a great group of volunteers this year. Look for us, out there on the river.


-Erin Schmiel
Erin Schmiel has been a steller WEN volunteer and has recently become a WEN board member.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Why Volunteer?

Although WEN teaches students, a lot of the time we end up learning just as much on field trips!  Check out some of these quotes from past volunteers:

"It was more that I learned from the students. I liked seeing how they reacted to hands-on learning in their backyard. I had not expected to see the students so engaged."


"I have always been interested in watershed issues but maybe in a different context. WEN has helped me to better understand the education aspect which was something that I didn't know much about. I could read hundreds of books on watershed ecology and management - learn a lot and be happy with that, but nothing compares to getting out in the field and watching students enjoy learning about the same things that I do."


"It is important to know what is in the water (living and non-living) that we use everyday. It was cool to learn about what it takes to have a healthy river. There are so many components that go into keeping the streams ecology normal and balanced."


"Discovering the abundant life in the river has helped me to better appreciate the significance of watershed health as a part of ecosystem function on the large scale."


Become a part of WEN!  Email us at water@montanawatershed.org

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Trainings!

At the beginning of every field season, we do a water monitoring training for our new volunteers and community members who want to learn more about their local rivers.  This year we had 24 participants.  Check it out!

Josh shows how to catch bugs to study
 
Dissolved oxygen from the chemistry station
 
Studying bugs

Monday, October 4, 2010

Adventures with Stream Team

Our Stream Team has an awesome time this past Sunday!  It was a beautiful day for monitoring our local rivers.  This fall, our Stream Team will be monitoring a different river every Sunday afternoon.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Discovering a Treasure with Swan Valley School

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

This late September morning we were very excited to take Swan Valley School out to Glacier Creek. The morning started bright and early for the long drive out, and we could tell it was going to be a great morning. Maddie, Josh, and I were very excited not only for the scenic drive ahead (which I later loved, especially passing Salmon Lake), but to be with the kids at such a great location. I have to say, once we reached the dirt road that extended deeper into the forest, I was getting quite excited.

After an almost two-hour drive, we arrived at the stream, parking beside an old rusty bridge, with the river flowing swiftly below. At first, I was a little worried when few students showed up in jackets, but the weather turned out to be just perfect, it wasn’t hot or cold, and the sun was there keeping everyone chipper and toasty. The kids were unbelievably great, very eager to learn and participate. The groups at each of the stations were a mixture of 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders and they worked so well together—the older students took on leadership roles, helping the younger students and I think it was really beneficial for the group as a whole.

It was my first time running the physical station and it was a lot of fun! It was really helpful to have both, Maddie and myself, keeping the students interactive and listening at each end of the velocity station. The kids had a blast throwing the sticks in the water, and I’m pretty sure it was starting to turn into a competition of who could throw the hardest and farthest. Once all of our data was collected, the high number of positive indicating insects collected, combined with our high oxygen content and pristine clear, cold water, we knew Glacier Creek was a promising supply to the Swan River.

The trip ended at the school, where Josh gave a wonderful presentation to the 4th grade classroom about what makes a healthy stream, including what types of conditions are ideal for our native trout populations. The students were then allowed to ask questions, and the only question was directed toward Josh, asking, “do you like healthy foods?” Confused, Josh replied with a “yes” and the student told him, “because Lunchables are 100% healthy!” The students then filed out of the room to the cafeteria, where they would be treated to their much anticipated lunch after a long morning as watershed scientists.


—Megan Girsch
WEN Fall UM Intern
Wildlife Biology

Friday, September 24, 2010

Adventures with C.S. Porter Middle School

Hello Everybody!
We had a great turnout at our C.S. Porter field trip this past Tuesday. Attending the trip was Tom, Garreth, Maddie, Stephannie, Josh, David, and myself. Our usual biological, chemical, and physical stations were set up for the kids to explore, and for the first time we were able to have a fourth station: invasive plants (many thanks to Stephannie).

Nearly every sixth-grader was talking and laughing as they approached the Bitterroot River early Tuesday—I could certainly tell they were eager to begin their morning as WEN’s very own scientists. I ran the chemistry station with Garreth, and we had a lot of fun working with the kids, watching them jump around and shake up their water samples. The best part about working at the chemistry station was listening to the responses to, “what is pH?”—needless to say, they discovered that it was not some sort of health issue or disease and it does not stand for doctor. It was really rewarding at the end to listen to the kids tell us what they learned and liked about the trip, especially when I heard, “I liked learning about pH,” and “pH from zero to seven is acid-ic.”

The children had a really great time at every station—the first thing we heard from the group that came to us from the plant station was endless bragging about how far they could spit seeds; the kids that had yet to go to the bug station anxiously eyed the lucky ones trampling around in the water nearby, and those from the physical station were thrilled to have spent their time with Josh, saying how fun we was (they probably just liked the Swedish Fish he gave them as a treat!). Not only did I have fun participating in the field trip, but I was also proud to have taken part in something so great. The amount of detailed information the kids learned and could explain to us at the end of the trip was extremely impressive. As soon as I got back to the office I signed up for another trip the following week, with no doubt about it! I strongly encourage others to do the same, you won’t regret it.

--Megan Girsch
WEN Intern

Monday, August 30, 2010

Summer Field Trip

This Tuesday was another beautiful summer day and a perfect day to spend at the river. Josh, Megan and I headed to the Kelly Island area to meet some kids from the Montana Youth Homes. They had been down to this spot a couple times to explore, so they were all excited to learn about the watershed that they had been hanging out at.

The group turned into scientists in training as they donned safety goggles and gloves and began to measure the amount of oxygen in the river. As the chemicals began to react within the test tubes, the group found that the oxygen level in the water meant that river was healthy. Next up, we took to the river with nets to see what critters we could find in the river.

Working in pairs, the kids stirred up the rocks in the river to let the river bugs drift into the nets. When we emptied the nets, we found that there were a lot of stoneflies, along with a few mayflies and caddisflies. These were all more good signs that the river was healthy because they were able to support these animals that are sensitive to toxins. One girl was especially amazed that the river that they had been swimming in had all of these cool bugs swimming in it too.

As we marched away from the river with our equipment in hand, I thought about what we had learned in our couple of hours in the sun. The river was not only beautiful but also healthy enough to support all kinds of animals. Everyone loved playing in the river and cooling off, and today we learned how important it is to keep the river healthy so we can all continue to enjoy it.

Erica Thye
WEN Fall UM Intern
Senior in Environmental Studies

Downtown Tonight

On Thursday, August 19, during one of the last nights of Downtown Tonight, WEN had the opportunity to have a display at Caras Park. Josh Gubits, Alaina Strehlow, and I set up three tables for the night’s festivities, with multiple interactive stations, including bins of live insects collected from our very own Clark Fork River. While the live music and smoke-smell of grilled burgers draped the air, many people stopped amongst the hustle and bustle to check out WEN.

At the bug table, we were met with many curious passersby. Dozens of people stopped to spoon out the variety of different insects, eager to examine and sort them into separate trays. It was really inspiring seeing the enthusiasm in the community for watershed education—a variety of people, from near and far, were hoping we could come to their own schools and communities to offer information and activities. We received a promising list of people interested in our program, wanting to support us and learn more.

While Alaina and Josh were teaching about stoneflies and their riparian environments, I had the pleasure of offering painting and coloring activities to the kids (and some enthusiastic adults). Some drew rivers, fish, and sunshine, while others took up my challenge to draw one of the many pictures of bugs we had on display. Children walked away from our station excited to hang their new masterpiece at home, and I must admit I was a bit embarrassed by the number of Missoula’s young artists that put my artistic abilities to shame.

By the end of the night, there was a great feeling of success. The three-hour event frequently brought waves of people crowding the tables at once. I was very impressed and proud that we had so many eager minds—one young girl even asked for a piece of paper and a pencil to take notes! I have no doubt that the demand for WEN is in full-force, and I am eager for a turnout such as this night’s at our upcoming events.



--Megan Girsch, WEN Fall UM Intern

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Summer Time Stream Team

June 2010

Rain continues to fill the banks of Western Montana’s streams and rivers. Driving from Dixon to Missoula every morning, I am struck by how green everything looks. Balsamroot and Lupin are still blooming in the hills, and the cottonwood and aspen are putting out new growth along the Jocko and Clark Fork Rivers. After an abnormally dry winter, let’s hope all this precipitation cuts the summer fire season short.

As native Montanan who migrated to New York for college, it’s great to be home for the summer. Hiking in the mountains, and seeing wildlife, rivers and wide open spaces again reminds me just how lucky I am to live in our beautiful state. A couple of weeks ago, I started a summer internship here at WEN. I’m excited to join the WEN team, and to learn about river education. Part of my internship this summer will include weekly Stream Team sessions. Every Wednesday from 1:00-4:00 pm, a group of community volunteers and WEN staff will be heading out to monitor the health of our local streams and rivers. The data and information we collect will be added to a National online database.

Despite the rainy weather, Emilie Kohler, Michael Anderson, Michael Canseco, Al Pak and I headed out to a site on Pattee Creek last week for Stream Team orientation. Emilie showed us the proper method for each stream experiment. We measured physical aspects of the stream, such as the stream channel morphology and flow characteristics, and using a tennis ball, we calculated velocity. After taking the physical measurements, I pulled on my waders, and along with Michael A., who splashed into the water in his sandals, collected material from the bottom of the channel in nets. We searched through the stream bottom contents for macroinvertibrate life. Although Pattee creek runs through residential Missoula, it seems to be a fairly healthy stream. We found worms, snails, a large cranefly larvae, and a great number of black fly larvae.

Yesterday, Stream Team drove up to Rattlesnake creek. The water was rushing along its banks at a high velocity, due to all the recent precipitation. The swift current made macroinvertibrate collection difficult. However, after only a small mishap in which a team member’s wader filled up with water, we collected a diverse sample that included over 200 mayfly larvae, an enormous stonefly, several types of caddis, aquatic worms, blackflies, and leaches. It was fascinating to see the mayfly larvae breathe; they have visible abdominal gills that flutter gently along their sides in the water.

Despite the threatening clouds, the rain held off until we finished collecting data. After a satisfying day in the field, Stream team headed back to the 4th street office.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Gida in Glacier

Last week, WEN joined Tony Berthelote of the Salish Kootenai College and the gidaa camp of Minnesota for 2 days in Glacier and a day of water monitoring in the Mission Mountains. The visiting gidaa camp has been coring Minnesota lakes as part of a wild rice lakes study. We met up with LacCore Scientists to core Lake Josephine at Many Glacier. Amy, one of the scientist, showed us a core they had taken from a neighboring lake which had ash from the eruption of Mount Mazama around 5700 BC (what is now Crater Lake OR). The cores recorded a sediment history up to 13,000 years old. Some things the samples are being tested for are Lead 210 and pollen. Lead in the atmosphere accumulated exponentially until it was reduced and ultimately banned in gasoline beginning in 1973. Looking at lead will aid in dating sediment. Studying pollen gives an idea of the vegetation biodiversity at the time. Students got to look at sediment under dissecting scope ride the “Purple Pony” out onto the lake and take a coring sample. Thursday, everyone enjoyed the views of glaciers close up on the bus tour of Glacier Park the Minnesota students, teachers and National Lab staff even had a shower under the Weeping Wall.Friday, WEN led students and teacher in water monitoring at Mission Creek Falls. The day was beautiful and sunny and the location was breathtaking. Students tested velocity, pH, dissolved oxygen, phosphates, nitrates, aquatic macro invertebrates, and more. The students tell it best and you can read about their study and their first impressions of Montana on their blog. You can also read a news article about the trip here. We really enjoyed meeting the amazing young gidaa camp scientist and sharing an incredible few days with them.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Flagship Electro shocking

Last weeks Flagship outing took us to Grant Creek for an afternoon of fish electro shocking with John Choka and Aubrey Benson of the USFS. Sentinel students learned all about what john does as a fisheries biologist. After a briefing on safety and equipment, we wadered up, and headed into the creek to find some fish. On our first few passes we were unable to shock any fish, and we were worried with only twenty or so minutes left that we might get skunked. Aubrey joked that when you are fishing with electricity you should almost never get skunked.

And we didn’t. The students managed to net a few brook trout that measured between four and six inches in length. John recommended we do one more pass before calling it a day, and good thing because what happened next will live in my head forever. As John passed his wand through an undercut bank we all watched as a well fed 16 inch cutthroat surfaced. I had no idea that a fish that large would be lurking just minutes from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. We admired the beauty of the native cutthroat trout before quickly releasing it back into the creek. What a day! John guessed that the native beast was a resident fish rather than migratory spawner, leaving the rest of us fisherman dreaming of mid may when all of our favorite little tributaries open for fishing.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Swan Valley and Salmon Prarie Schools field trips!


I could tell as I slid out of bed the morning of the 27th that my body was not used to getting up at 6:00. I hurried to get ready and by some magic made it to the office by 6:30, the appointed meeting time for an all day Swan Valley/ Salmon Prarie field trip. Once there I met with our two awesome volunteers Chrissy Orangio and John Hughes and after "borrowing" our VISTA Emilie's lunch we were off! It is a field trip I have been wanting to take for a while and despite the sagging eyelids I was excited. After a sleepy trip, we finally arrived at the beautiful wilderness and Swan Valley School. This was my first meeting with one of our biggest supporters, Diann Erickson who works for the Swan Ecosystems Center, and it was was every bit as motivating as I thought it would be. (This is her above picking through gunk trying to find Macroinvertebrates.) Despite the time she was up and excited about our upcoming field trip. Leading us into the small, quaint one-floor school, Diann talked us over the plan for the day and showed us an amazing display she had put together using pictures and data from the past 7 years of data we have collected with the school.We then went in to talk to the K-1st group, preparing them for the upcoming field trip. Despite their young age, they all remembered working with us in the fall and/or in previous years. Patiently they listened and answered questions.

Before we knew it we were down by the river, which was flowing very quickly, and starting with the field trip. I was leading the physical station and I had to admit, I was a bit rusty. In the moments as the kids were coming down I went over what I wanted to talk about in my head: Cloud cover, flood plain, shape of the channel, velocity, how does the areal around the stream affect it? What affects velocity? What parts of the river move faster or slower? Soon I had a group of wonderful, cooperative kids. Each took his or her turn to throw a stick, the shouters would shout start and stop as they stood on either side of a 20ft line, the timers would time, and the recorder would record, then the thrower would go trade places with someone who had a different job. We all had a lot of fun and the kids learned quite a bit.

After we finished up with that field trip we went to lunch at the local Mercantile and then Diann met us with a homeschooler she had picked up to come on our next field trip. We all drove to a small, but well-kept one-room school house entitled Salmon Prairie School. It's sole student was our other field trip attendee. We all went down to a beautiful swift flowing river that I was told was home to many Bull Trout! The two students we were working with were older and well familiar with our field trips. They knew the protocol and were basically able to run the stations by themselves. We all had fun collecting 300 bugs and participating in all the stations rather than teaching.At the end of the field trip I realized how important our work was. Without us, those kids would have been in the class all day and may not have ever learned about the beautiful rivers that surround them! We got to give them hands on science experience and re-enforced watershed ecology and science concepts year after year. I know I wish I had such an opportunity in school. Chrissy and John felt the importance of what we had done too, and on the ride home we all felt satisfied.