Environmental Science Class Partners with KDWP on Ecology Project

23 November 2021

Dave “Kip” Chambers’ Environmental Science class, in collaboration with biologists from Kansas Department of Wildlife Parks (KDWP), participated in a field trip to Lemon Park this Fall to evaluate the ecological interiority of a short stretch of the South Fork Ninnescah River. 

Students had an opportunity to assess the biological communities of the river by sampling fish, using electroshocking techniques and collecting macroinvertebrates using dip nets.

Students also conducted a habitat survey and performed basic water chemistry tests to assess the overall condition of the river.

The project is part of an ecology unit in the Environmental Science (BIO 123) curriculum that allows students to work with KDWP biologists that monitor surface water quality and other environmental issues in Kansas. 

Ryan Waters, Kali Boroughs (former PCC graduate) and others worked with students providing direction, oversight and feedback as they collected fish and macroinvertebrates.

The South Fork Ninnescah experienced major flooding in the fall of 2018. Although the flooding did have an impact on the habitat for a brief period of time, it is an important part of the natural hydrological process in our rivers and streams, and actually benefits the ecological integrity of rivers by flushing sediments downstream and out onto the floodplain.

The biological habitat and chemical assessment of the river provides students with a chance to gain a better understanding of the interconnected relationship of these elements.

Students recently finished working to interpret the data they collected and have written a formal report summarizing their findings.

Chambers says KDWP has been instrumental in helping PCC students in this ecological study for the past twenty years.

“Recognizing how organisms interact with one another and their environment is a fundamental principle in ecology. Knowing how people interact with their environment and how they impact natural systems is what environmental science is all about. Thanks to KDWP for their continuing support of this project. “    

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PCC Environmental Sciences Ecology Project with KDWP, September 2021.