Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Field Trip to West Eugene Wetlands

On 12/3/13, the Kinder River Spies and the 1st/2nd Grade River Spies explored West Eugene Wetlands near West 11th and Danebo Avenue. Susanna Hamilton, an environmental educator from Willamette Resources & Educational Network (WREN) and her team of volunteers (Ron Leonard and Mackenzie Cowan), led our explorers through the wetlands. The River Spies learned about the components of a wetland, inspected plants, identified wetland creatures, and found clues that signified the presence of various animals. We saw evidence of beavers, nutria, birds, raccoons, and insects. Susanna kept us warm on an especially brisk day by interspersing stops along the trail with jacks, jumps, duck waddles, and high knee runs! The River Spies walked trails through the wetlands and along a portion of Amazon Creek that parallels West 11th heading toward Fern Ridge Reservoir.
A tree used by raccoons as a communal toilet!

A Doug Fir cone. Easy ID clue: 
appears as though mice have crawled underneath the bracts.

Defining a wetland.

A branch gnawed by beavers and beaver teeth.

Collecting rose hips for closer inspection.

River Spies ask excellent questions!

Water Filters and Testing Water Properties

On 11/19/13, the Kinder River Spies created their own water filters out of soda bottles, coffee filters, sand, and gravel. We tested each water filter's ability to clean "dirty" water. This activity allowed the kids to observe filtration rates through different types of soil and to witness soil's capacity for trapping pollutants. 

Here are all the Kinder River Spies with their water filters: 



The 1st/2nd Grade River Spies explored water properties through several demonstrations and activities. They tested various household substances to determine pH levels and predicted the turbidity of different substances suspended in water. 

They also explored surface tension by figuring out how to float a paper clip on top of water.
We recapped our Amazon Creek clean-up by modeling 2/3 of a cubic yard (total trash collected) with student bodies. That's a lot of trash!