First Visit to the Rio Chama in Tierra Amarilla

Last Thursday was our first river day with our Tierra Amarilla River Classroom! We began our exploration of the Rio Chama in Tierra Amarilla.

Our first task at this location was to explore the immediate vicinity. We grabbed our compasses, clipboards, and pencils and set out to identify signs of life.

Beginning our exploration of the Rio Chama by taking a hike along the river
Beginning our exploration of the Rio Chama by taking a hike along the river
Playing with mullein
Playing with mullein
Hiking through the willows
Hiking through the willows

Of course a big part of exploring a new river is skipping a few rocks and/or throwing a few stones in to check the water depth.

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Recording signs of life
Recording signs of life
There's a definite sign of life!
There’s a definite sign of life!
Exploring the river's edge
Exploring the river’s edge

We also got to experience the magic of waders for the first time!

Wading in the Rio Chama
Wading in the Rio Chama

As we waded, we discussed the different parts of the river: pool, riffle, and run. We also began looking at benthic macroinvertebrates.

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Wading in the Rio Chama
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Wading in the Rio Chama

As the year progresses, we will be taking more detailed surveys of benthic macroinvertebrates, testing water quality, and exploring tributaries of the Rio Chama in the Tierra Amarilla area. Branching out to multiple rivers will allow us to gain a better sense of the health of the entire Rio Chama watershed. We’ve got a great group of students, and we can’t wait to start taking water quality measurements!

Christy

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