Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Session 4 Manlius Fish Hatchery - Perry Springs

Summary of events

  • Extremely Hot day - about 22 participants with some adults. 
  • We met at Perry Springs, Village of Manlius.  An overview of the hatchery was given by ___________ volunteer.  The history, pictures of fish, birds of prey were shown. Discussion around the constant water temperature and other trout needs.  Students were then broken into groups to tour the different sections - the fry / hatchery section, the minnows/ small fish area, then ponds with the rainbows and brook trout.  Then a short walk to the out door pond , where an aquifer was shown. Many cedar waxwings were visible flying around.  Participants were then given the opportunity to feed the fish. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Session 3

Date: July 22nd 2015                                                                                                                                 Time:  2:00pm- 3:00pm (approximately)                                                                                                 Location: Limestone Creek  
            With the weather just right, we were able to take our up and coming naturalists to Limestone Creek. We had met earlier to set up the tables, charts, and all the necessary tools along the stream side. With only a slight delay do to a minor mix-up of today’s location, things ran very smoothly. We provided waders for the kids to put on upon arrival (they had a lot of fun with these as it seemed to give them a very professional feel). We than gave a quick overview of what today’s activities will be (as well as how we will be applying what we learned last week) before the kids (and a few parents who wanted to stick around and join in on the fun) all eagerly walked to the nearby stream site.
           Our young naturalists were divided into groups and before heading into the water! They were given a quick and informative rundown on how to use their nets, work as a team, and the proper techniques used for uncovering the macroinvertebrates. After about 10-15 minutes the three groups went to their assigned table to see just what they caught. As they sorted through the contents of their net they picked out the critters and sorted them into divided containers. From here they took out their charts and started identifying what they found! As the day came to a closing each table announced their findings and we listed them on the final chart. With the bugs identified and tallied up we assessed the water quality of the stream through the macroinvertebrates present. To our joy, we discovered that the stream was healthy!

            What a success today was! Throughout the entire time, kids were coming up to us and asking when we would be able to come back. And when time was up there were disappointed sighs coming from everyone. We were fortunate enough to have the help of Matt Weber, an individual who has had plenty of experience in teaching kids about our watershed in a hands-on manner. He made a huge difference and brought in some great materials and techniques. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Session 2

Date: July 15th 2015                                                                                                                               Time:  2:00pm- 3:00pm (approximately)                                                                                            Location: Manlius Library                                                                                                                        
Total Students: 22                                                                                                                                     

            Today was centered around teaching the kids about macroinvertebrates and how they can be utilized as water quality indicators. Prior to class we went to Limestone Creek and collected some of the critters to be used as live samples for them to observe. As the kids walked in we gave them each a folder (with the Izaak Walton League sticker on it!), inside they were provided charts on macroinvertebrate identification as well as charts that divided the macroinvertebrates into their levels of tolerance to polluted waters. (There was also a word search puzzle included, something which we should have handed out at the end- as they got a little distracted).
            Before today’s activities, the kids were presented with a graphic of a stream that flowed from the mountains, through the rural/somewhat suburbanized land, and into the city. It was divided into 3 sections in which the critters lived: ‘sensitive,’ ‘somewhat-sensitive,’ and ‘tolerant.’ The kids were all given a macroinvertebrate on a card, and by looking at the charts they had in their folder, they had to determine which section theirs lived in. This gave them a quick overview of our impact on a watershed and how different levels of pollution make way for different types of creatures.
            We then divided into groups of 5, where the kids would go to one of the four stations we had set up. One of the stations had several containers of the live samples we collected earlier. We had a variety of tools (plenty of different types of magnifying glasses) that allowed them to take a closer look at what we caught for them today! They loved it. The other tables had our preserved specimen that the groups had a blast trying to identify! Each group rotated through each of the tables allowing them to experience it all. They all enthusiastically gathered around looking at these strange creatures- this activity was perfect for them to get exposed to what we will be finding next week.
            We finished off with a quick overview of all the fun things we learned today. Seeing that they were going to be applying what they learned today during next week’s stream expedition (if the weather holds up- we plan to take the crew to Limestone Creek where they can search and lean about macroinvertebrates in the environment) everyone was quite attentive and eager to learn! This was without a doubt a success, as we finished the day with positive feedback from numerous parents as well as the participants. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Session 1

Date: July 8th 2015
Time:  1:00pm- 2:00pm (approximately)
Location: Manlius Library

            Today was the first day of the Naturalist Program and was without a doubt a huge success! There were several technological glitches that set us back on some time, but not a second was wasted- as during that period the kids were taken through the topographic maps of the area and once the problem was fixed we transitioned back to our set agenda for the day.  In the beginning of the hour we began with a brief PowerPoint presentation that introduced the kids to just what a watershed is, why it is important, and how different land use practices affect the quality of our water. The PowerPoint was filled with pictures that were taken from the Manlius area- something that the kids loved, as they would get quite excited when they saw places they recognized. We then continued on to ac clip of a video of Dr. Seuss’s story of “Mcinttrys Pool,” a fun way to gives the kids an idea of just how far there water can go. Next we say a powerful minute clip of Water PSA with Jennifer Connley, followed by the Onondaga Lake Watershed video. All of these clips were used to get the kids to really think about the importance of clean water and how they are connected to it all. After the videos we went right into our activity- the puzzle challenge! One of the topographic maps was created into a puzzle, which was then divided into four sections, each section was given to a group, and from there the kids raced to see who could assemble their section the fastest. This was a great activity for the kids to work together and to really take a closer look at all the detail that is present in a topographic map (i.e. how the streams are flowing, where the roads are going, how the contour lines are connected, etc). Throughout the entire hour period the kids were engaged and eager to participate as they seemed thrilled to be learning all of this information about an area they live in and can go out and see exactly what we are talking about.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Sign-up Day

Date: July 1st 2015
Time:  1:00pm- 3:00pm
Location: Manlius Library

Today was focused around engaging kids and their guardians to spark an interest and inform them about the “How to be a Naturalist” program. We had a table set up in the children’s section of the library with a variety of materials to show what this program is and how to sign up for it. On and hanging around the stand we had informative posters and topographic maps of the region, as well as other educational (and fun!) materials on the other elements involved with this project. One of the most popular parts of our display was the aquatic macroinvertebrates that were being preserved in small jars. Kids of all ages came to the table to check out these cool critters. There was approximately 51 children that stopped by our stand, 8 of these children that were interested were in the age group set for this program (middle school age range), and several of these were interested in this programming continuing on a monthly schedule into the future.