Kenston campus before new high school was built. The blue line is the estimated location of the headwater being studied. Photo courtesy of KHS web site.
Kenston campus during construction of the new high school. The changes in water drainage and land use provide the basis for the project. Photo courtesy of KHS web site.
During the school year, we collected data from the stream and wetland behind the high school through performing the four methods that we had thoroughly practiced during our stay at Hiram. As a team, we successfully completed each task, and now we have data to act as a benchmark for future classes and school clubs to follow the same procedures we used, and compare each year's set of data to the next. Through this, we hope to gain insight as to how the ecology changes each year, whether it's improving or not, and find the causes for the changes. Most importantly though, we are revolutionizing the way science is taught in the classroom by substituting the outdated methods of passive learning with more involved and hands-on learning opportunities that the science field is actually comprised of.
After the ISLS team performed their analysis on their own time, the activities were converted to classroom lessons that were completed by other classes and partially taught to the classes by ISLS students.
- With the aide of various internet mapping resources along with the knowledge we were equipped with, we constructed a topographical map from before the new high school building was built, and after. Then, we compared both maps and approximately judged how much area was changed and how these changes to the land impacted the stream running through the woods.
ISLS students teaching course content to classmates back at school. This is a pebble count lab that the ISLS students developed to teach conference attendees to demonstrate headwater assessment methods.
- By identifying the substrate , the pool depth, and the bankfull width of the stream, we can assign a class to our stream. The highest primary headwater type is Class III, and for one to achieve this score, they have to have a score of 70 or more. When we performed the HHEI on our stream, it racked up 83 points, thus making it a high quality stream. As the years go on, we hope that we can maintain and even improve the quality of the stream.
Laser level techniques were taught by ISLS students to Mr. Barrus' students in the classroom using textbooks to simulate stream morphology.
- We established a hub, or a permanent cross section for the stream, so that each year we perform these measurements, we ensure that they are taken at the exact same points, ensuring correct data. After sketching the area, then we used the laser leveling equipment and did both the longitudinal and latitudinal cross sections (Part I and Part II) of the stream. With these points, and descriptions, we can competently analyze and examine the differences year to year.
ISLS students are demonstrating the proper use of laser level equipment to a Kenston physics class. Many of the ISLS activities apply to science standards beyond environmental science, as well as math, English, and social studies. All classroom photos by Christian Barrus.
- Behind the school, there's a wetland that is still under construction, but nevertheless, we evaluated it by its Size, Surrounding Land Use, Hydrology, and Habitat Alteration and Development. In addition to those measurements, we also evaluated if it was a Special Wetland, and what type of plant life existed, and the diversity of the plant life. Through this, the wetland scored a twenty four, making it a Class I wetland. This wetland has yet to be fully developed, and expected such results. Hopefully, through the years, we can improve this score and bring biotic activity to the wetland.