Stream health workshop starts off Warrington Primary School's
monitoring programme

Place: Carey's Creek Neighbourhood: Warrington/Evansdale
City: Dunedin Regional council: Otago

On Wednesday 1 April,  21 students from Warrington Primary School, (plus parents and teachers) joined scientist Marc Schallenberg for a stream health workshop. Warrington School is near Dunedin, in Blueskin Bay Catchment.

Here is his report of the day:
"The students were very keen.  I spoke to them in the morning about invertebrate life cycles  and foodwebs, the many types of invertebrates found in streams and their different tolerances to pollution. We looked at some great photos of bugs and fish in an educational kit the school had.  The children had many questions to answer.  We were to find out many of the answers ourselves, later the same day."

"We went out to Evansdale Glen for about 3 hours and did some sampling and exploring.  We had a picnic lunch, played a tag game called Crayfish and Caddisflies (a.k.a Radishes and Rabbits). Then we brought our samples back to school and spent the afternoon i) sorting bugs into groups, ii) counting the bugs in our various samples and iii) graphing the results.

When we discussed the graphs produced by the various groups, a  really unexpected result showed up.  All the sites, except one, had similar distributions and abundances of bugs which were typical of healthy streams.  However, one group had a very different and somewhat troubling assortment of bugs in their sample (for example, absolutely no mayflies were found!).

It turned out that the group had sampled below a ford in the stream, where cars cross.  This lead to a discussion about stream disturbance and its effects on the biological community.  One child even suggested that a bridge be built to stop the disturbance!

During the afternoon, We set up an aquarium with crayfish, freshwater shrimp, bullies and inanga which we collected.  The aquarium has been left in the classroom for a few extra days for follow-up studies on the behaviour of the animals.

I was really impressed with the strong interest shown by both the children and parents. I never expected them to enjoy picking bugs for an hour and a half!

We have some good data, the beginnings of a school monitoring programme. We can also create a great display. We will get some of this information onto the website soon too."
for more information contact Marc Schallenberg

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