During the fall 2017 semester, our Biology of the Environment students worked in collaboration with Columbia Outdoor School (Blue Lake) on projects related to Joseph Creek. Students focused on six different topics: invasive species, macro invertebrates, rainbow trout, bull trout, water pollution and watershed.
“It was an incredibly easy decision to work on the Joseph Creek Restoration Project,” says Biology of the Environment instructor Lynnette Kuervers. “Working on these projects not only provided a significant portion of the students’ final grades but collaborating with the Columbia Outdoor School added another sense of purpose as students were directly contributing to a community-related issue.”
“Our partnership with College of the Rockies and the Biology students and instructors has helped to move the very important community project of restoring Joseph Creek forward and has allowed us to begin the process of collecting important scientific data to help us make decisions for future restoration and research projects,” adds Todd Herbert, Executive Director of the Columbia Outdoor School and Blue Lake Camp.
On December 1, elementary school students were invited to the College to view eco-friendly, hands-on activities that the College students designed to help explain the importance of their project. Students from Steeples elementary and TM Roberts elementary visited at various points throughout the day.
“Sharing these projects with the elementary school children was a great benefit to our students,” Lynnette adds. “The Biology students really seemed to enjoy coming up with their hands-on component for their projects. Doing so allowed them to look at the project from a different angle – less about the hard facts and scientific data and more about how to bring a community together to care about a local issue.”
"Showcasing Joseph Creek in four different projects really enticed my grade 3s to learn more about the small creek which meanders through town," says Tanya Meijer, Grade 3 teacher at TM Roberts Elementary. "The topics covered by the College students helped illustrate the important issues facing this urban stream and opened up a discussion of what we can do to help improve water quality and fish/wildlife habitat. My students loved the hands-on activities and are eager to learn more creek science."
We were happy to be able to host all of the elementary school students and hope to see them again when they are ready for their post-secondary educations.