Hiking through bush and forests, Grade 3 students from W. L. McLeod Elementary collect water health data at Stoney Creek’s recently restored habitat on May 12.
The field trip included observing weather conditions, collecting and identifying insects, as well as measuring the acidity, oxygen level, temperature, and the turbidity — cloudiness — of the creek.
It’s a continuation of the students’ learning about the endangered Nechako White sturgeon and their needs, through in-class lessons and visits to its conservation centre, explained Grade 3 teacher Patty Borek.
In addition to identifying the different factors that help make the Nechako River a healthy habitat for sturgeon, students studied the species’ eggs at different stages of its life cycle, Borek explained.
“They learn positive correlation between healthy habitat and healthy sturgeon,” she said, adding that it’s part of the dialogue to become good scientists and stewards of the land. “If this creek isn’t healthy, the river isn’t healthy.”
Practising the use of magnifying glasses to identify insects, students are exposed to the idea of tolerant and non-tolerant species that provide a food source for sturgeon.
“It starts at this stage, then you have them engaged and excited all throughout their school years [about conserving the endangered species,]” she said.
Students will visit the site again this month to collect more data, and a composite of the gathered information will eventually be presented to the Nechako White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative.