Satsop River Explorations

This is my second blog for the year.  I try to keep you updated on things my students are doing that relate to climate change and our environment.  

We went water testing.  All the kids practiced in the class before we went out.  My testing site is Schafer State Park. This park is on the East Fork of the Satsop River. A week prior to our field trip day, I went to the river to put in a leaf bag.  I planned on studying macroinvertebrates with my class.

The class loved the site. Before the testing, we all went to the river so I could get the leaf bag.  This is when I pointed out different plant species that we have been studying. All my kids know the snowberry bush (because it is my favorite and we have one in our school forest).  We discussed the riparian edge of the river and looked across at the edge of the other side. After, I retrieved the leaf bag; we headed back to the bus for our testing equipment.

All the groups for testing found an area on a picnic table to set up their testing supplies.  Some went to the water with volunteers to gather the water sample.

They all performed their tests and were very scientific about their procedures.

As the tests were getting finished, many students went down to the river.  There were flags in the water for salmon nests. Upon arrival, one student found a dead salmon on the shore and pushed it into the water.  There was a man from the hatchery who was catching fish. The kids got to see the salmon get caught and released. The man put all the ones we saw back in the water.  Someone said he only wanted females. The salmon were amazing in color and size. This was a wonderful experience that they had.

When we were back at the school, we got the mats out for macroinvertebrates.  The students spent one hour looking and examining what was in the leaf bag and water that was brought back.  They found some snails, water bugs, caddisflies, and mostly stoneflies.

This was another great experience to help them understand the importance of salmon and the health of the river.  After our trip, we discussed the importance of the health of the river, the impact of pollution and human effects, the reason and need for the macroinvertebrates, and of course the journey of the salmon.  

We are going to start a salmon unit next.   Stay Tuned…..

Submitted by Tina Niels, 4th grade teacher in the Montesano School District


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