| Vicki Whisenhunt

STRIVE Prep – Sunnyside Students Test Local Waterways!

STRIVE Prep - Sunnyside Students Test Local Waterways!

On Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018, students from STRIVE Prep Sunnyside CAP-Club joined an international effort to monitor our waterways and measure the impact our human habits have on our beloved lakes, rivers and streams. By tackling this “citizen science” challenge, the students learned how to collect samples and test the water’s: temperature, PH, turbidity (cool word!), dissolved oxygen and percent of dissolved oxygen saturation.
The group decided on 3 different locations around town to execute their newly developed scientific methods, and two of the three were along Denver’s iconic South Platte River. The first location tested our group’s resilience and composure due to some strong, potent air pollution in the area (thanks Purina and SunCorp) and large amounts of trash in the river, yet surprisingly, based on the group’s findings, the water quality was actually pretty clean! The trash and pollution also didn’t stop an abundance of water fowl from utilizing the river’s resources; a truly fascinating finding! 
The next section of river tested was at Confluence Park in LoDo, a considerably less smelly location, and once again, the water tested was rather clean. In fact, by using a biotic index of water quality and looking for macro invertebrates, the group was able to discern that the mayfly nymphs, stonefly nymphs, fingernail clams and water boatman bugs they found were indicators of the water’s good health.

STRIVE Prep - Sunnyside Students Test Local Waterways!

The group then traveled to Berkeley Lake and Park for a hearty lunch break and the day’s final data collection. There they determined that the Lake’s water was much colder than the River yet not quite as healthy. This was surprising considering the conditions they witnessed and endured at the beginning of the day, but they suspected it had something to do with the Lake water’s lack of movement and flow.
At day’s end the group reflected on all they had accomplished that day and semester in Cap-Club, and though they were sad that CAP was ending, many are now inspired to pursue more environmental adventures. Check out the Earth Echo Water Challenge to see the data these students collected, as well as data collected by other citizen scientists all over the world.

See more photos from their day here!

Written by CAP Instructor Zach Booz


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