- Category: news
- Created: Friday, 23 August 2013 12:39
- Published: Friday, 23 August 2013 12:39
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Volunteers monitor creek to keep it ‘drinkable, swimmable and fishable'
A citizen-science monitoring program out of McMaster University has included First Nations for the first time to help track changes in a creek eco-system.
Volunteers with the Urban-Rural Biomonitoring and Assessment Network (URBAN) collect and monitor water to keep it "drinkable, swimmable and fishable."
Mac students and volunteers analyze the samples.
This spring, URBAN partnered with the Saugeen Ojibway Nation to have three of its high school-aged youth collect samples in Sucker Creek on the Bruce Peninsula near Red Bay, west of Wiarton.
On Tuesday, students Gubby McDonald, 15, Christian MacKenzie, 17, and Kyle Robson, 16, presented the findings at McMaster — that phosphorous and nitrogen levels were high, meaning the water quality is poor.
McMaster students led the boys, who each volunteered one-and-a-half days a month in May, June and July, to collect samples.
They then spent three days in Hamilton with the same students learning to analyze the samples.
"I like working with the environmental projects," McDonald said, adding he was surprised to learn of the negative impact of agricultural run-off from farming.
MacKenzie said he got involved because it sounded interesting.
Robson wanted to know the effect humans have on water and now knows that invertebrate species (those that do not develop a backbone) can't live through "all the (farm) run-off."
He was also "very surprised" at the number of bugs in the samples they tested. "There's quite a bit — 18 species of bugs."
Biology professor Patricia Chow-Fraser — who is the director of URBAN and of life sciences at the university — says outdoor learning "has shown to be effective in getting students engaged in working in environmental protection."
The result here was seeing the negative impact from farming run-off, she said.