Biology Program Overview
Students arrive at 9am. The day begins with students working in small groups to build a model watershed to understand watershed dynamics and human impacts. During this time students also discuss and view regional watersheds and learn water quality basics.
Students then spend approximately 2 hours on a guided hike to explore a variety of habitat and see real examples of ecological concepts students have studied in class. During the hike, students divide into to smaller groups to do water quality sampling at Clear Creek and a natural spring. Students work in teams to test pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, nitrates, and total dissolved solids. Students also collect a water sample and plankton sample to bring back to the lab for further investigation.
After the hike students break for lunch at the study center and enjoy eating outside on the patio deck (weather permitting).
After lunch, students work in two groups to visit the dock and collect water samples for testing and participate in a plankton lab using samples from three different sample sites. At the dock students practice using a secchi disk and a secchi tube to measure and record turbidity. In the lab, students use compound microscopes to find, draw, and name the phytoplankton and zooplankton found in the water.
If time allows, students also perform additional chemical tests on the water samples to compare water hardness and phosphate levels.
We finish the day with a final discussion that ties together all of the data we have collected and connects our activities to the real world. The bus returns the students to school for their last period classes.