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  • Reece Ehret

Reece’s Recap - Week 6

I am exhausted from this week! From the Purdue Athletes Life Success (PALS) event at the Celery Bog to grinding out data collection, I am out of steam. Monday was the PALS event, and Taylor and I were responsible for educating the 8-14 year-olds about streams. There were two groups of these kids that came on Monday, and we had different activities for each group. For the first group, we had an activity that demonstrated how the water cycle isn’t always a circle. One of the tools for this activity was a string to make a bracelet, this would serve as something the kids could takeaway from the activity. Throughout the activity, the kids rolled a dice at each station (a water source) and took a bead if they stayed at that source or moved to a new one. With different colored beads from each water source, the kids observed that they didn’t receive all the beads, and got some of the same beads multiple times. While this activity did bore some, a lot of kids were happy to make and keep their bracelets. For our second group, we had an activity called macroinvertebrate mayhem. In this game, two

Reece, Jenny, Taylor and Mia retrieving fyke net

kids served as pollution and were responsible for tagging four different macroinvertebrates with different pollution tolerances. The tolerant species were able to run freely, but the intolerant species had different inhibitions. This activity really seemed to keep the kids entertained, and it gave them an extremely interactive way to learn that content. We had another opportunity to do outreach activities at the Wabash Riverfest on Saturday.

Field work was also extremely busy. We successfully completed two weeks’ worth of data collection within a weeks’ time. This was important because it will allow us to do data analysis in this coming week. Fortunately, this will help us better prepare our presentation, and in general be less stressed. During the week we set and pulled nets from Martell Pond and the PWA Ponds, electrofished our three sites in Indian Creek, and collected water (for water quality analysis) and macroinvertebrates from the creek and ponds. At Martell Pond we had to deal with four snapping turtles, but we had help from Jenny, Avery, Mia, and Lizz so we were able to get them out efficiently. From Indian Creek, we managed to shock and net a spotted bass fry, and this was super exciting because we were not expecting to ever catch one. We also caught a lot of striped shiners, and a few breeding creek chubs. It was truly an eventful week in the creek. From our fyke nets in the ponds we caught green sunfish from Martell and black bullhead from PWA. Once again, it was good to catch fish at PWA because at the beginning of the project we weren’t sure if we would catch any or not. In both trips out to PWA we were able to catch black bullhead.

​Finally, Taylor and I did some work with sorting macroinvertebrates. We had plenty of samples to go through since we had the samples from not only the ponds, but the creek sites as well. Sorting is going better as we are developing more of a feel for it, and we have started to make some real good progress. Hopefully by early next week we will finish with our macroinvertebrates, and we can focus on what lies ahead.

​Next week we are aiming to get started with data analysis. Admittedly, I am not too familiar with some of the tests that we are going to run, but it will be a great learning experience. Furthermore, it will be awesome to start to get a feel for the results of our project. While the time has flown by, a lot of effort and hours have been poured into this project, and it is going to be nice to see what we got out of it. It is also a little sad to be done with field work. It was great to learn how to perform all these research methods, and then to go out and execute them. I think I will miss electrofishing the most. I will not miss the snapping turtles.

Pun: Hundreds of sunfish. Wish we could scale back.

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