Earth Systems Class Visits Jackson Lake

By Jade Crandall

Eleven students went on the annual Earth Systems field trip to Jackson Lake on Tuesday, April 22.

The class started out the year by studying the different planetary conditions throughout the solar system and then slowly narrowed down their studies. After the planetary conditions section, they focused on Earth’s global conditions, then North American conditions, and finally northeastern Colorado conditions specifically. In this study, they were expected to do a specific habitat analysis. This is where the field trip came in.

According to teacher Jerris Van Roekel, the students were required to complete a habitat analysis of a 50×50 foot area. This analysis included identifying basic plants and animals, along with determining the quality of the producers (plants) present. The students also had to form the basis of the biomass pyramid and complete a soil analysis and identification. Finally, the students completed a water quality index of the school pond versus lake water.

“The research is going great because of the Labquest, and we can run so many tests so quick,”  said Van Roekel after the trip. “The only thing that usually hurts us is bad weather, but we had 70 degree weather and no wind, so it went really well.”

According to junior Yuliza Rios, the most difficult part of the assignment was identifying the quality of the plants and the water indexing. She said that since the water was so dirty, it took a lot of different sensor probes to complete the task.

The class’s research is continuing with some of the plants and water samples that they brought back with them. “It is much easier to do the identification here at school, where we have books and other stuff to help us,” said Rios.

The class is expected to complete packets of their findings and results.

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