During critter crawl, we learned about how weather impacts our river. We looked at USGS graphs of South Platte River water levels over time and hypothesized why we may see higher water at some points during the year. We also looked at the month of July over several years to see if the water levels we observed at camp were in line with historic levels. Of course after, we caught as many macroinvertebrates as we could!
Chemistry was our science on Wednesday. We focused on the chemistry of our South Platte River all day. We began our day by doing water quality testing where we tested our river for levels of dissolved oxygen, temperature, turbidity, and pH. We determined that overall, especially for an urban water system, we have pretty healthy water!
Our second activity was critter crawl, where water testing did not stop! We can actually get an idea of our river water’s health by having a wide variety of different macroinvertebrate species in our river. After collecting animals from the river, we sorted them into different categories based on that animal’s ability to live in polluted water. With a wide variety of critters, we reaffirmed our conclusion from our other water tests- we have pretty healthy water especially for an urban river system!
Thursday was field day, and our theme was engineering, so we spent most of the day outside at Johnson Habitat Park. We focused on looking at the park and river and making observations about trash. We then put our engineering hats on and campers made designs for a project to design a contraption to clean trash out of our waterways. Campers will be challenged on Friday to bring their brainstorms to life and build their devices!
We had a blast at SPREE scientists summer camp. We are excited to see all the campers again soon down by the river!