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Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge: Living Classroom for Local High School Students - Part 1
Northeast Region, March 12, 2013
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Watershed Ambassador Frank Elmuccio introducing students to Macroinvertebrate Sampling Techniques
Watershed Ambassador Frank Elmuccio introducing students to Macroinvertebrate Sampling Techniques - Photo Credit: USFWS
High Point Regional High School students conducting Macroinvertebrate water sampling
High Point Regional High School students conducting Macroinvertebrate water sampling - Photo Credit: USFWS
More sampling along streambank by local students
More sampling along streambank by local students - Photo Credit: USFWS
Students analyzing water samples
Students analyzing water samples - Photo Credit: USFWS

In January, refuge staff Biologist Marilyn Kitchell and Bio Tech Ken Witkowski were invited to High Point Regional High School to do a power point presentation of the general workings of the refuge and more specifically some of the research and monitoring that occur here. This invitation was the result of contacts made during a teacher workshop the previous fall at the refuge HQ. Friends Group board member Giselle Smisko arranged this work shop for local high school science teachers in the hopes that it would lead to involvement of workshop, the Science Olympiad Team at High Point Regional H.S. decided to come to the refuge once a month for the remainder of the school year to participate in some of the surveys that we are conductng here.

For the first visit, we were fortunate to have the cooperation of our local Americorps Watershed Ambassador Frank Elmuccio to introduce the students to Benthic Macroinvertebrate Water Quality Testing Methods. Frank began with an indoor presentation explaining the basics of the survey purpose and techniques. The next part of the program was conducted outdoors along a stream bank next to the refuge HQ. The students came equipped with waders and the Watershed Ambassador brought along all the nets and data sheets that would be necessary to do the sampling. All the students eagerly participated collecting samples in buckets and once enough samples were collected, they returned to our office to analyze and identify the macroinvertebrates that were found in the stream. Based on the data collected, the water quality of this stream was rated as "good". The students came away from this activity with the ability to conduct these water quality tests on their own and were encouraged to do so at other locations either around the school campus or near home. In all, 15 students and 3 faculty advisors participated.


Contact Info: Ken Witkowski, 973-702-7266 ext. 14, kenneth_witkowski@fws.gov



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