For two Thursdays in a row, EcoReach designed and hosted a booth for Experience UGA‘s 9th grade science fair!
This year, Experience UGA brought the 9th grade classes from Cedar Shoals High School and Clarke Central High School to UGA on March 1st and March 8th, respectively. During their field trips, the students watched Chasing Coral, a Netflix Original Documentary featuring the Odum School of Ecology’s own Dr. James Porter, which documents the devastating effects of climate change on coral reefs around the world. The students also attended a science fair featuring booths from various science departments and organizations at UGA, including veterinarian pathology, microbiology, biological sciences, and EcoReach. The students were allotted about 10 minutes to explore each booth and participate in an activity.
EcoReach’s booth was all about bioassessments of local Athens streams. A bioassessment is the process of determining the health of a body of water using biological indicators, or aquatic organisms. One way to evaluate the health of a stream is to measure the number and type of macroinvertebrates. Some macroinvertebrates are pollution-sensitive, like certain species of stoneflies, caddisflies, and mayflies, and other macroinvertebrates are pollution-tolerant, like midges.
We gave the students a “stream” in the form of a bag that had cutouts of different macroinvertebrates. Each student had a key with information on macroinvertebrate common names and their pollution sensitivity. We then had them fill out a stream bioassessment form and determine the overall health of their stream!
EcoReach had fun teaching the students about bioassessments and macroinvertebrates, and the students enjoyed looking at samples of some real macroinvertebrates and racing to fill their forms out before their neighbors. Overall, it was a great event! We love watching young students learn about different STEM fields