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Stomping in Chiques Creek with Manheim Central Students

Posted: May 4, 2018

Manheim Central high school students and their agriculture education instructor explored the health of their local stream.
Manheim Central Creek Stomp

Manheim Central Creek Stomp

On April 24 a group of Manheim Central high school students and their agriculture education instructor explored the health of their local stream. AEC Watershed Technician Sarah Xenophon and Program Coordinator Kristen Kyler led the experiential learning workshop designed to teach students about water quality through hands on activities.

On the banks of the Chiques Creek, the students had the opportunity to learn about water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed while studying their local ecosystem. Students observed the stream’s physical characteristics including bank height, bank steepness, water clarity, and bank vegetation as well as its biological health by collecting organisms from the stream itself.

The students used First Investigation of Stream Health (FISH), a citizen science tool to record and score observations related to stream and ecosystem health in order to track the progress of restoration projects over time. After learning the tool and putting it in practice, the student concluded the stream reach they studied ranked around a 6 out of 10. They found that the stream was not in the worst shape, but it could definitely use improvement.

The workshop concluded with a discussion about human impacts to streams and how and agricultural and conservation professionals can improve the health of streams across Pennsylvania. Students left with ideas for future career choices and things they can do right now at their own homes to help improve water quality.