Biotic sampling in Clear Fork’s land lab

A Feed the World workshop participant shares her experience with the curriculum:

My name is Danielle Haydocy and I teach at Clear Fork High School in Bellville, OH. I am an Agricultural Education teacher and I teach AFNR (agriculture, food, and natural resources) and Agricultural Communications all year long. Also, in the fall I teach Natural Resources and in the spring I teach Biotechnology and Veterinary Science.

I used many FTW activities, but the one that the students and I enjoyed most was the Biotic Sampling Lab. We started the lesson by learning about biotic sampling, the study of macro and microinvertebrates in water. During the lab macro and microinvertebrates species are collected and counted. Species and population numbers determine the quality of the water. The presence of organisms sensitive to pollution is an indicator that the stream is clean and healthy, lacking pollution from the runoff of fertilizers and pesticides from residential lawns (which is the primary polluter of rivers and stream).

At Clear Fork we are fortunate to have a beautiful natural resources land lab that includes a stream and forest. After learning in the classroom, the students went to the stream and collected macroinvertebrates from the stream. The students took the samples into the classroom, counted the number of each organism and evaluated the water using the microscope for microinvertebrates. The quality of the river was then determined based on the organisms found. Numerous sensitive macro and microinvertebrates were found in the water; the students concluded that the water in the school stream was very clean and healthy.

This activity took place during my Natural Resource class in the fall. My students loved this activity because it was 85 degrees when we started school and we were able to go to the stream, play in the water while collecting organisms, and stay cool under the shade of the trees. They loved collecting organisms from nature; they enjoy any activity that does not involve sitting at a desk! Students learned a lot because most of them had never looked for macroinvertebrates in the water before.

The FTW workshop allowed me to incorporate more hands-on labs in my classroom. The workshop helped me to understand how to perform each lab, and it was fun because I was able to work with other teachers. Feed the World is an exceptional program—it allows teachers to understand how important it is to balance growing food and conserving natural resources. I highly recommend getting involved in the program; every student should have the opportunity to learn the science behind their food so they know where it comes from and how it is produced.