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Students Take Ecology Field Trip

02 October 2013

On Sept. 26 Kip Chambers' environmental science class went on a field trip to the South Fork of the Ninnescah River in Lemon Park. The project is part of an ecology section covered in the class. The students learn about the ecology of a small stream through various hands-on activities.

Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) provides support for the project. Two biologists, Ryan Waters and Jordan Hofmeier from KDWPT, helped the students with several activities including the collection of macroinvertebrates and electro-shocking for fish. In addition to sampling fish and invertebrate communities, the students performed a habitat assessment, and they will also do some basic water chemistry in an effort to better understand the ecology of the river.

The South Fork Ninnescah is typical of many western Kansas rivers in that it is impacted by both point and non-point source pollution. Concerns in the watershed include sediment and nutrient loading that contribute to the degradation of the ecological integrity of the river. The river has also been impacted by non-native species that have had a detrimental effect on the native fauna of the river. The objective of this project is to help students develop a basic understanding of ecology, an appreciation for our resources and a sense of stewardship for the land.

The support of KDWPT and their biologists is critical to the success of this project. The instructor and the students would like to thank KDWPT and their biologists for their help and support with this project.