With the first work week down I’ve already begun learning a lot and have already had the opportunity to do great things. As a river technician assistant here at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, life really is better on the river. After finishing a week of training I finally got to get into the field. Taking water samples was the first thing on the list. Going to a bridge in the section known as Jaite we gathered water samples, then walked to a nearby water gauges to note its recordings. Back in the lab we tested for turbidity and E. Coli. I was also able to join a group on a butterfly counting hike, which is a project the park has been tracking for over ten years!
Along with these things I was able to participate in kayak training, which was followed up by a kayaking test in the river. I did a number of different maneuvers and paddled up, and down stream. The test went well and I easily passed! Nearing the end of the week I was able to attend a very important water trails meeting with different people who play vital roles in the whole northeast Ohio watershed! I learned a great amount about this regions watershed and the work that’s already been done for it, and the progress that still has to be made! I’m super excited for all the work I will be doing within the next handful of weeks on the river and surrounding areas here in this beautiful area for this Cuyahoga Valley National Park!
It was a week of new beginnings. The students met their teachers, facilitators, and rangers while beginning to discover the ecosystems that Thompson Island has to offer. Thompson is truly an island of infinite stories; it has a vast history that ranges from geological processes that shaped the island and harbor to the personal stories of the many groups that inhabited the island over time. Currently, the Summer Connections students are adding to this history by simply learning about the island.
During this week’s field program, students learned skills that enabled them to uncover these stories; they practiced making careful observations with their four senses while visiting three ecosystems: A salt marsh, an intertidal, and a forested woodlands and meadows. Students will be using these important skills throughout the whole program to gather information for their final project.
So what are some of the things the students observed?
On their way down to the first ecosystem, the students used their sense of sight to match biotic and abiotic objects to paint cards. It is very important for a scientist to be aware of their surroundings paying attention to as much detail as possible.
“I see a bird and a lot of water around”
“I notice the water is moving”
“What I notice is that 2 cm down the sand is wet, maybe the water comes up to this level?”