by Lisa Tome
Rising Sun students received a gift that will keep on giving last week.
Grant funds paid for ninth grade environmental science classes to be part of a year long action project which came through a grant written by staff at Fair Hill Nature Center. The first role of the students came last week when they headed to a stream in Calvert Regional Park to test the water.
"This is all part of an effort to help students become more environmentally aware of how our actions directly affect many other people," said RSHS teacher Jen Arter.
Students performed physical, chemical, and biological tests in the stream. It was a hands on process. Students donned boots, carried nets and went wading in the stream scooping up bugs and plants.
Nora Wintermute and Karen Aspinwall from Fair Hill Nature Center walked students through the stream testing process. "The health of the water depends on the land around it," said Aspinwall.
"You may collect everything but water snakes," Aspinwall told the students. "Turn over rocks, but put them back when you're done." Jonathan Duszynski said he enjoyed his time in the stream. "It's fun. I'm learning about different types of flies, fish, and all the different things in the water," he said.
"This is better than being in class. It's fun finding stuff in the creek. I found a small catfish and a sunfish," said Cameron Granger.
Students will now begin planning a project which is expected to improve the water quality. They will do the work in the spring. The water will be tested again in the spring. One item which will be noted is the impact of snow inhibiting road salt on the stream. Later, the data collected will be placed into a website which can be accessed by those interested in the health of streams in the North East River Watershed.
The goal on these days of stream testing was for students to become aware of the importance of stream water testing in relation to the health of the Chesapeake Bay.
This program was also held at streams near other county high schools. Students from Bo Manor, Elkton, North East, and Perryville High also participated in stream testing and will later perform projects at their schools.