BETHEL — Students of the Telstar Freshman Academy at Telstar High School are learning about water, including its connection to them and its importance in Maine’s ecosystem.
They traveled recently to streams and rivers throughout western Maine with Androscoggin Watershed Council fisheries biologist Jeff Stern, assisting Stern in retrieving and recording water temperatures to add to his growing database.
For the past two years, students have been assisting Stern in placing and retrieving devices that record temperatures, dissolved oxygen, pH levels, electrical conductance and turbidity (cloudiness).
“Together, these data points paint a picture of the health of the watershed for brook trout, an indicator species for water quality,” said Norman Greenberg, a Telstar Freshman Academy instructor and a professional educator at the University of Maine 4-H Camp and Learning Center in Bryant Pond.
“Data that students collected will be uploaded to a database which has been tracking watershed health over the last several years.”
It plays into the students’ lessons well, according to Telstar science teacher Kelly Dole, who said the students are studying both the history and environment of the local area, and “focusing on how changes in Maine have affected the natural resources available to us in our own state.”
“We are also studying how water affects Earth, and the role that water plays in Earth processes, as well as evidence of climate change in Maine,” Dole said.
“Students now understand the factors that determine the quality of water in an ecosystem, and how water quality affects the organisms living there, including humans.”
According to the Androscoggin Watershed Council’s website, brook trout habitat restoration is a key part of their work on the Androscoggin River.
Telstar Freshmen Academy students, from left front, Max Kruse and Asa Milot, and from left back, Teddy Doyle and Darrin Leclair, test water samples from the Androscoggin River. (Norman Greenberg photo)