Testing the Water Wheels

Last Wednesday was the big day… the day that River Classroom finally got to test the water wheels that we’ve spent all year building! We didn’t hook up generators to the wheels yet. We just wanted to make sure they spin.

The Rio Chama is up quite a bit, so first we had to review wader safety.

Students demonstrate how deep they are allowed to wade.
Carrying the water wheel to the river was hard work!
Debating where the water wheel should go.
It works!
It works!

All of that testing was difficult work, but we still managed to find some time to have fun exploring the river ecosystem!

Learning about cottonwood trees!

After lunch the wind really picked up ahead of a cold front, and it was just too cold to get back in the river and search for benthic macroinvertebrates, so we decided to explore a different area of the Abiquiu Lake ecosystem.

Testing out a new bridge and a new trail!
Learning about cairns.
Hiking around the lake.
Leaning into the wind and watching the waves.
The class entering “the splash zone”.

The fantastic thing about having class outside is that there’s always more to learn. On our hike we talked about cairns, the importance of staying on trail to minimize our impact on the landscape, how wind is caused by pressure gradient force, and why certain wind directions produce larger waves on Abiquiu Lake.

We even ended up seeing some wildflowers!

First primrose of the year!
First primrose of the year!


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