All in! For three days in the fall and three more in the spring, students at Au Gres-Sims Elementary are investing valuable time in the field to monitor the health of the East Branch of the Au Gres River. Beginning near the headwaters at Vaughn Creek [Iosco County], the students experienced a variety of river environments as it wound its way through forest, agricultural landscapes, homesteads and eventually underneath US-23 at Singing Bridge.
Students, teachers, and community volunteers learned how to best collect the physical, biotic and chemical aspects of the river at each testing site. Splitting into six teams, a team leader (student) was responsible for managing the collection of data like river temperature, depth, flow rate, width and substrate composition. They also measured chemical levels of pH, dissolved oxygen, nitrates and phosphates, and ammonia. Each team finished by collecting, sorting, and identifying macro invertebrates (aquatic critters) as an indicator of river health.