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Students and KDWPT work together for Environmental Science class

12 October 2016

Pratt Community College students get a hands-on approach to environmental science with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) biologists.  

PCC Science Instructor, Dave (Kip) Chambers teaches Environmental Science and regularly works with KDWPT to organize field trips for students. This semester Chambers’ class took a field trip to the South Fork of the Ninnescah River in Lemon Park.  Students learned about the ecology of a small Kansas stream through various hands-on activities. KDWPT provided support for the project.  Five biologists, Mark Van Scoyoc, Ryan Waters, Jeff Conley, Emily Dutton and another Ryan Waters 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.  The project also included basic water chemistry and a written report about their results to help them understand more about 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 loading, nutrient loading and the introduction of non-native species.  These impacts and others have a detrimental effect on the ecological integrity 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,” said Chambers.

KDWPT has been providing support to PCC for this project for more than 10 years.

“Their support is critical to the success of this project,” said Chambers. “My students and I would like to thank KDWPT and their biologists for their help with this project.”