KCVI Grade 9 Science Students Explore the Flyers, Swimmers and Crawlers of ELEEC

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KCVI Grade 9 Science Students Explore the Flyers, Swimmers and Crawlers of ELEEC

Story and photos by Matt Saunders and Aiste MicKute

Critters of all types were up for inspection when 74 Grade 9 Science students from Kingston Collegiate and Vocational Institute arrived at Elbow Lake. The leaves were leaving and the temperature was headed south, but it didn’t put a damper on our expectations or on our experience. The day proved ideal for three rotating outdoor sessions that focussed on flyers (birds), swimmers (aquatic organisms) and crawlers & burrowers (soil invertebrates) — with a cameo by a lovely Smooth Green Snake.

The bird session tested foraging strategies of autumn birds by presenting them with a variety of offerings such as food type, type of feeder, height of feeder above the ground and different distances from feeder to shelter. The Black-capped Chickadees, Dark-eyed Juncos and woodpeckers did not disappoint!

At the aquatics session, students found themselves in chest waders for the first time — a truly amazing feeling — and working together to rig a seine net to trap unsuspecting critters in the waters offshore. Over the day, a variety of fish (bass, sunfish, perch) were captured, as well as several Giant Water Bugs who proved that one doesn’t need a backbone to be King of the Deep!

Berlese Funnel Traps were assembled at the invertebrates session, and filled with soil and leaf litter from three different habitats, allowing students the chance to view some of the most overlooked movers & shakers in virtually any ecosystem using binocular microscopes.

A quick, garbage-free lunch, some time to compare their findings and a 15-minute quiet time to commune with nature made for an event-filled day and an incredible opportunity to do some hands-on field ecology with guidance from ELEEC staff. Any chance to get outside with our students is a good one… this trip was well worth the effort! Many thanks, Elbow Lake. We’ll be back!

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