Students learn in real life labWhen the yellow school bus rolled to a stop, Drummond science teacher Andy Arthur, his three student assistants Ben Best, Jack Ludzack, Ryan Schick, and 30 seventh graders spilled out, ready to begin their Spring Eco Education Lab.
When the yellow school bus rolled to a stop, Drummond science teacher Andy Arthur, his three student assistants Ben Best, Jack Ludzack, Ryan Schick, and 30 seventh graders spilled out, ready to begin their Spring Eco Education Lab. They had arrived at the home of Quentin and Helen Ruprecht on Middle Eau Claire Lake on a sunny and 61-degree May 14 for the “hands on” experiential activities that were the culmination of four classroom sessions. Jerry Kaiser and Cris Neff greeted them and explained the schedule, and how they would use what they learned in science classes.
The seventh graders had used computers already, and the DNR site to check the “critical” areas of Middle Eau Claire, learned how to sample and test the physical and chemical properties of lake water samples. They learned how to identify and differentiate between native plants, macro-invertebrates and invasive species, how living and nonliving things are connected in a healthy terrestrial and aquatic environment, and the basics of shoreline restoration.
They were ready!
Each student received a Eco Education Spring Lab Manual, a camera, pencil and clipboard, was assigned a group number and began the 45 minute rotations with instructions to “photograph and document” what they saw and learned.
• Macro invertebrates led by John Kudlas, assisted by Stephen Neff and Sally Pease. Insects, minnows, bugs on bear scat.
• Shoreline Restoration and Reforestation led by Travis Tulowitzky, Bayfield County Land and Water Conservation, assisted by Jack Gribble and Sue Jansen.?Grasses, soil types, slope native plants and trees provided by M&M Greenhouse, were planted on the Ruprecht shoreline. “We’ll see how they grew next year.”
• Food Chain/Cycle/Web led by Cris Neff and assisted by Carrie Sanda, Douglas County AIS Coordinator, Fred Haueter, Stephen Neff and Ingmar Ekstrom. The big question: “Shall we do a chain, web or pyramid?”
Then, back in the bus and over to Middle Eau Claire Lake Boat Landing for lunch, water quality testing using canoes, a clinometer lab, an aquatic/shoreline scavenger hunt requiring them to use all their newly acquired skills.
Then it was time for canoe races.
They had received instructions in canoeing thanks to Scott Peterson and Canoes on Wheels, a Friends of the St. Croix Headwaters and Solon Springs community project.
The water safety patrol, Tom Boman and Sally Pease in kayaks and Bob Hershey in his boat, did not have to make any rescues.
Then back on the bus to return to school and end the day.
“Overall, the seventh graders had a great educational experience and became better lake stewards. One student even found a species of plant not known to exist in that lake.” Andy Arthur.
The program is an on-going project of the Eau Claire Lakes Area Property Owners Association in cooperation with the Drummond Area School District.
The curriculum was developed over four years by John Kudlas, Jerry Kaiser, Cris Neff, Bob Hershey, and Fred Haueter.
It meets state science standards and is available to nonprofit organizations and other schools. It will be presented at the Northwest Wisconsin Lakes Convention in Spooner this June.