Alton High School seniors are earning college credit to splash around in the water, all in the name of science. Participating students in the school’s field ecology class not only fulfill high school graduation requirements for lab science, they also earn dual credit to take with them to college.
Under the instruction and guidance of Dan Pettus, students in this class are taking part in the annual RiverWatch study by gathering specimens from Little Piasa Creek and its creekbed that runs under the bridge and along the nearby area at Airport Road.
“We are following the protocol for RiverWatch’s stream monitoring as set forth by the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center, which is part of Lewis and Clark Community College,” Pettus said. “The students also take part in the FrogWatch and Monarch Watch citizen science programs. We study the prairie, forest, wetlands, streams and ponds, whatever we can get their hands into.”
Stream monitoring through the RiverWatch program offers a hands-on learning approach for students to learn about water resources and develop an understanding of this important connection. Students wade through streams collecting water samples to determine the stream’s overall health and identify problems their community and watershed may be facing.