It's not every day students get to ditch their books and head to the river, but some Bluffton Middle School students got to do just that.
They left the classroom Tuesday to wade through the
“We just kind of get to have fun, and put our hands and get dirty in the river,” said student Janean Steffen.
The students joined local General Motors employees to figure out if the
“We look at the biological invertebrates that live on the bottom of the river, and they're the best indicator of whether the river's healthy or not,” said Beverly Balash, a science teacher at
GM supplied the waders, and students jumped in. After testing for acidity and e-coli levels, students concluded the river is pretty healthy.
“There were a lot of right-handed snails, and right-handed snails are good because they are very intolerant to pollution,” said student Michael Henderson.
Still, students found a good deal of trash.
“I found an Ibuprofen bottle and some
Balash says the experience helps students understand how to take care of the environment.
“The prettier something looks, the more likely people are to take care of it,” said Balash. “So we try to make sure that we're keeping it clean and doing our part.”
Students like being hands-on, and they say it leaves an impression.
“It was pretty hard to comprehend before we came how much there is in the river,” said
Back in the classroom, students will analyze the data they collected. Then, they'll identify an issue and develop a project to address it.