Thursday, October 20, 2016

Wetland Field Studies (19 OCT 2016)

Yesterday (19 Oct), I spent the afternoon with a sixth grade classroom from Fancher Elementary at Mill Pond Park in Mt. Pleasant.  Part of the Michigan Science Standards for Middle School students (including 6th grade) focuses on the interdependence of organisms within an ecosystem.  I believe that it is difficult to understand the interdependence of organisms within an ecosystem, if you first don't know what organisms live within that ecosystem. 

With that thought in mind, we discussed the different zones found in a wetland ecosystem and the species that are present (or absent) in each.  Then the students were turned loose to sample and identify aquatic macroinvertebrates. 

Zones of a wetland

Students surrounded by cattails and fall leaves

Collecting and examining macroinvertebrates
Two fish in a washbasin

Students working along the shore

Looking for organisms in a pipette

Because the students were working independently in their small groups, I was able to walk around giving occasional advice and identification help.  I was also able to get a few photographs of the rapidly changing fall colors and a few of wildlife.

Fall colors
Canada Geese

Pond reflections

Mating Meadowhawk dragonflies
Sumac leaves

Sunlight reflections through sedge leaves

Sun and clouds reflected among the lily pads

Common cattail

Swamp Milkweed seeds

Flocking Canada Geese

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