- 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
Friday, November 19, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
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.
WEN Fall Intern
Sunday, October 24, 2010
That's all I got - I hope you have a fantastic weekend!
Friday, October 22, 2010
Read it HERE
The Stonefly needs cold and clean water, so it is known as an indicator species in stream monitoring.
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!
WEN Autumn 2010 Intern
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Watershed Education Network teaches Victor students keys to a healthy river system
Friday, October 8, 2010
"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."
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Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Monday, October 4, 2010
Thursday, September 30, 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.
WEN Fall UM Intern
Friday, September 24, 2010
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.
Monday, August 30, 2010
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.
WEN Fall UM Intern
Senior in Environmental Studies
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
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
Monday, May 10, 2010
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
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.