Ecology class helps out Hennepin County

Jen Vogl

Carrying nets and waders, ecology students went to Utley Park in Edina on September 22 to study water quality at Minnehaha Creek with the Hennepin County River Watch.

Mr. John Porisch, ecology teacher, wanted to stress the importance of high water quality. “I’d like for the students to gain appreciation for what it takes to have quality water. You may not be able to see through it, but there is life,” said Mr. Porisch.

Senior Carmen Aguirre liked finding the different macroinvertebrates in the river. “[It] was cool because of how different the macroinvertebrates were from the bottom of the river to the ones at the waterfall,” said Aguirre.

Peter Schubloom, another senior, was one of the students in the river trying to catch the microinvertebrates. “I liked feeling the water current and pressure while walking up and against the stream and then standing next to the waterfall,” said Schubloom.

Being outside at the park and working in the river was one of the reasons why the students liked the trip. “Hands-on learning is better than classroom work,” said Aguirre.

Even though the students enjoyed being in the river, their work wasn’t easy. “It was difficult to recognize the small macroinvertebrates because they move extremely slow and blend in with their surroundings,” said Schubloom.

The other reason why some students enjoyed the trip was because of the purpose behind the excursion. “[It] was volunteer work for the Hennepin County River Watch, because we were helping them collect data,” said Aguirre.

BSM has worked with the Hennepin County River Watch for a long time. “We have done this field trip for 10 years,” said Mr. Porisch. “Along with Hopkins, we have one of the longest running programs.”

After the field trip, students weren’t finished with their tests. “We take the macroinvertebrates back to the lab and use stereoscopes and our textbooks to identify them and what family they belong to,” said Mr. Porisch.