This year’s Stream Explorers Salida sessions had a great start. Although we have fewer students than in the previous years, they are all excited and curious and keen to learn.

We started the day with a brief introduction to the course and then went down to the river. Most students wore shorts, and put on rubber boots to wade in the river. We talked about different kinds of water (eddies, fast/slow currents, pools, etc). The students turned over rocks and used seines and kicknets to collect different aquatic insects. We matched them up with charts, examined them under magnifying glasses and a microscope. It helped that it was a nice warm day!

After a snack we discussed fish habitats and what might be good for the fish. We did an experiment with counting goldfish gill beat rate, charting those counts against the temperature of the water. Students varied water temperature by using ice cubes and hot water.

Then it was time to build a habitat, a place where a goldfish would survive until next week’s session. Students collected river water, rocks, sand, sticks, added insects from our earlier collection, and added some elodia plants for oxygen production.

A fun day, and we’ll soon see which habitats performed well!