WETLAB has been participating in Snapshot Day for several years now. We’re proud of our commitment to education, and we hope to inspire ecological stewardship in students of all ages, while also showcasing various career paths they might not have considered previously. WETLAB directed three monitoring stations this year, meaning we were given the chance to inspire over one hundred students. Below is a guest blog written by Mary Kay Wagner, the coordinator for Snapshot Day.
Education on the River: Truckee River Snapshot Day
Mary Kay Wagner, Lower Truckee River Snapshot Day Coordinator
The ultimate learning experience occurs when students perform their own investigations and discovery. That opportunity was provided for Washoe County School District students during the 15th Annual Truckee River Snapshot Day on May 15, 2015. Under the guidance of resource professionals, students take a picture of one-moment in time of the Truckee River by collecting water quality data and studying the riparian habitat. They also learn about watershed concerns and stewardship practices.
For the lower Truckee River segment, nine schools sent 239 students ranging from 4th grade to high school to participate in the event. The student monitoring teams are pre-assigned to various monitoring sites to perform a stream walk (visual assessment), collect field data and water quality samples, and take photos. Streams are field tested for dissolved oxygen, conductivity, pH, and temperature. Water samples are taken to the Nevada State Health Lab and analyzed for turbidity, nutrients, and fecal coliform bacteria. Monitoring teams also collect debris and trash – things that don’t belong in the river.
One added value of Snapshot Day is the opportunity for students to learn and work alongside natural resource professionals, exposing the students to exciting careers and transferring ecological stewardship principles to a new batch of field recruits.
The success of this hands-on educational event is attributed to the dedicated Team Leaders from WETLAB, Great Basin Institute, Sierra Nevada Journeys, City of Sparks, City of Reno, Nevada Division of Environmental Protection, Nevada Department of Transportation, The Nature Conservancy and Pyramid Lake Environmental staff, who helped students understand watershed concepts and hydrology, as well as the importance of environmental stewardship. Participating schools included Mt. View Montessori, Natchez Elementary School, High Desert Montessori, Sage Ridge Middle School, Excel Christian School, Spanish Springs High School, Washoe Innovation High School, a home-school group and the Washoe County On-Line School.