Meet Our 2016-2017 River Classrooms: Española Public Schools

Next in the line up for our 2016-2017 River Classrooms is our group of 4th-6th grade GATE students from the Española Public School District. This is a really unusual group because the students come to us from all of the elementary schools in the district. Not only are these students learning important science skills in an outdoor setting- they’re also learning to collaborate with other students from other schools!

Our first meeting with these students was on the Rio Chama below Abiquiu Dam. Flows on the river make scheduling a little tricky in the fall, but we wanted our students to get the feel of walking in the river in waders, and it’s a beautiful time of year to begin exploring this riparian habitat.

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Introductions

Our first activity was for students to create a map of the area by the river.

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Working on a map
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Each group included slightly different features on their map
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A few students included a compass rose, so we had to refresh our compass skills to make sure that north was drawn in the correct direction.
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A gallery stroll to examine all the different maps

After a quick break for lunch, it was time to pass out the waders!

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Lining up for waders
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This was the first time in waders for many of the students!
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After a review of wader safety rules, we headed for the river.

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A few of the students from last year began to pick up rocks and look for benthic macroinvertebrates.

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Checking out some midges and mayflies
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We also found some caddis houses
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Not everybody was excited to find leeches!

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We had a great first experience wading in the river, and after this introduction to benthic macroinvertebrates, we are ready to begin surveying next time.

As always, these students from Española and the surrounding area are a fantastic group. We’ve been working with students from this district for five years now, and the students continue to impress us. This will certainly be another great year of River Classroom.

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