On-Board Activities Included
Water Sampling: Students will collect water samples from the top and bottom decks of the boat using VanDorne Samplers, plankton nets and buckets. Students will visually check the clarity, temperature and odor of the samples while discussing their observations at the sampling site.
Ohio River Scavenger Hunt: Students will compete in small teams to spot items on land or in the water. Items will include landmarks such as buildings, parks, and bridges; fish and macroinvertebrate habitat; birds and mammals; and point and non-point sources of pollution.
Water Testing: Students will use colorimetric tests to measure the “Big Three” parameters that are essential for aquatic life: temperature, dissolved oxygen and pH, and will learn how they relate to each other. They will also measure turbidity (water clarity). Middle school students may also measure nutrients and E. coli as time allows in the schedule.
Go Fish!: In this activity, students work with real specimens of fish collected from the sampling site to learn about fish morphology and adaptations that allow fish to thrive in the river environment. Students also learn why fish are used as indicators of water quality.
Planktomania: Students will conduct a plankton tow and study both phytoplankton (algae) and zooplankton from the river. They will also learn how plankton can be used as a water quality indicator.
“This overall experience gives students a sense of place in their watershed and an understanding of the challenges that need to be addressed in protecting a resource that literally runs through the lives of millions of people.” -F.O.R.E
-Senior Declan McAlister commented on how informative the experience was and feels he learned a lot about the river that he didn’t know before, he recommends continuing this field trip for future classes.