A Wet Field Trip to the Fenton River
Written and illustrated by everyone in the 9-12 class.
On Wednesday, October 2, 2013 the OGMS upper elementary class (9-12 year olds) took a field trip to the Fenton River, in Storrs. This year, the class is studying insects, so we took a trip down to the river and caught the larvae and nymph forms of the insects we learned about in class. To get there, the teachers and some parents drove us. The parents also helped chaperone the day. Thanks to Mike and Julie for your help!
We caught our bugs with flat screen-like nets. We put the nets in the water straight up so bugs would get pushed into the net with the river current. All the peoople in the class had a partner to help them out. One person would be rubbing the rocks so if there were any bugs on the rocks the current would float them right into the net. The water was freezing cold and the rocks were slippery. Water got into our boots. The next step was to take the screen-like flat nets into a white bucket that every group got. We would scrape the net while it was in the bucket to get the bugs into the bucket. Once that was done, we would head for land and put our bugs on blue trays so we could look closer and see what we caught. Each group got a container to keep our bugs in. Each group had a number so they would know what container was theirs when we got back to school.
We were split into six groups. While the first three groups went into the water, the other three groups were drawing pictures of what was around them. Some of the things people drew were bugs, plants, trees and drawing a scene there. Some people sat down on a fallen tree that was near a lot of plants and other trees. When we were drawing pictures of things that we saw, we would write some detail about them. Some of the details that we would say would be if it had moss, or if it was a tree that was broken we would write down that it had little points on it because it was broken. Because we were using pencils, we’d write the color, like if it were blue we would write down that it was blue. We were drawing in our little yellow booklets that do not get wet when they have water all over them.
After we did all of the gathering we had to do, Hannah and David let us have some free time. Some of us went back in the water and looked around, and some of us stayed out of the water and drew in our science notebooks. One of the things that most of us got drawn in by was the crayfish. Michael found the first one, and after that one was found everyone started wanting to find more and more. The very first one that anyone found was so big. It was the biggest by far! After the weather started getting warmer and warmer some of us started splashing around and getting wet and definitely cooling off! Hannah and David were very happy that we brought extra clothes!
After we came back from the river, we studied our insects. Each group was at a table with their container of what they caught, with a couple of spoons, an ice cube tray, an identification chart, and a big tray to look at them for each person in the group. Each person had an even amount of what they caught in the big tray. We looked at them and then filled the ice cube tray with water. After that we decided what we had and sorted it into the different sections in the ice cube trays. If we wantied we could look at them under the microscope. When we were done sorting we wrote down what we had on a chart.
What We Found
We caught 92 bugs. Most of what we caught were minnow mayflies. There were 19 of them! There were 21 different kinds of bugs. My favorite was the stonefly.
There are 3 main feeding strategies for stream invertebrates. The ones we saw the most of were predators which eat other insects, grazers which eat algae off the rocks, and filterers which filter food out of the water.
One of the things we wanted to find out was whether the water quality was good. Apparently it is, because we found lots of bugs that can only live in very clean water, and lots that live in okayish water, and only a few that live in polluted water.
Once we studied our bugs under the microscope, figured out what they all were, and counted and wrote down what we found,, we put all our insects into one bucket for David to let them go back into the river. All in all, we had a lot of fun wading through the river catching bugs with our partners. We all had fun trying to do new things and agreeing on what to do. It was fun sharing with our partner and we helped remind each other if we forgot something. And it’s nice to know that our results showed the the water quality of the Fenton River is really good.