BLM California News.bytes 
News.bytes Extra, issue 533

Redding BLM, Partners Are Getting Children Outside

Offer grade school pupils the chance to study aquatic macro invertebrates, and you probably won’t generate howls of excitement.  Give those same children a chance to get outside near a creek, and you’ll probably light up some  faces.  And you’ll set them up to learn something about their environment.

That  was the idea behind a partnership involving the BLM Redding Field Office, French Gulch School and the Western Shasta Resource Conservation District that connects kids with the outdoors along three northstate creeks. (text continues below)

students sit outside and listen to a teacher
A group of students listens to a presentation on aquatic macro invertebrates in their creek side “classroom.”

The BLM’s “Take it Outside” and “Hands on the Land” programs helped provide funding for a series of field trips, while staff from the Western Shasta RCD provided the expertise and materials to help classroom teachers provide quality learning experiences for their students.

Girls wade in a stream  
Students take to the water to collect samples, top photo, as another group gets a close look at what really lives in the water, lower photo).
students closely examine water samples in a plastic tub

Maureen Teubert of the RCD accompanied the students on their field trips to help them identify larvae and other organisms.  They have visited parts of Clear Creek, French Creek and Brandy Creek, all west of Redding.  In addition to identifying aquatic macro invertebrates, the students have been studying how the 2008 French Fire affected the environment along French and Clear creeks.

Aquatic macro invertebrates are animals with no backbones.  Their presence or absence can indicate the general condition of a stream.  They range in size from the tiny larvae of caddis flies and dragonflies to pond snails crayfish.  In their classrooms and field trips,  the students learned that some aquatic macro invertebrates are more sensitive to pollution than others.  This means that a high population of pollution tolerant species or a low population of pollution sensitive species could indicate a stream pollution problem. 

- Jeff Fontana, Public Affairs Officer, BLM Northern California District (May 2012)

BLM-California News.bytes, issue 533 -- To subscribe to News.bytes, send an e-mail to: mailto:Join-Newsbytes@List.ca.blm.gov OR visit our News.bytes subscription page.