Red River Water Festival & Water Quality Monitoring Activities
River Watch students lead lessons on the importance of water clarity using a transparency tube with area 4th grade students.
River Watch students sample rivers in the area monthly for transparency, temperature, turbidity, conductivity, pH, dissolved oxygen and depth among others. They use a variety of equipment as pictured to obtain consistent results following approved protocols.
What Lives in a River?River Watch student Eric Buchholz leads a lesson on macroinvertebrates with 5th grade students at Atkinson Elementary School. Students sort and identify small invertebrates as they learn the importance of these organisms in a river ecosystem.
Data Review Process
After students collect data from spring, summer and fall, it is entered into a spreadsheet and edited. Then the data must be examined to find averages or medians for the parameter. Often we look for changes compared to previous years. It is also compared to the state limits or guidelines for a parameter. Things frequently studied are turbidity, dissolved oxygen, and nutrients such as nitrates and phosphates. Data is gathered into charts and then graphs to identify trends. These graphs help answer questions students have already formed during the course of the year. Once the River Watch students have organized their discoveries by using graphs and pictures to explain what they have found, it is placed into a PowerPoint. Then they prepare to explain their results to a group of professionals from the Watershed District or area agencies involved with water monitoring. This allows for feedback to students to help them in forming better questions or better experiment designs to answer their intended questions. There may also be unintended variables students may not have thought of, but those working in the profession are quite aware of. Data review shares the results from the students' work with professionals and is beneficial to them as well as educational for students!