Anita Stroud Park in Brightwalk will be a classroom for students in our area in the coming weeks looking to learn about the health of the stream that goes through the community. McColl Center for Visual Art has paired Project LIFT with Queens University. Twenty students from Walter G Byers and the students in Environmental Science 101 at Queens University are going to come do a stream investigation.
The college students are going to get in the creek and pull out macroinvertebrates (stream critters), and then together all of the students will get to help sort the macroinvertebrates. Depending on what they find, they can determine if the stream is healthy or not. The following week, the Byers students will go to Queens to the Environmental Lab and look at the critters under the microscope.
The partnership is exciting for many reasons. First, the Byers students get to explore an area in their own backyards that they probably never thought twice about, and learning “in-situ” is great for creating a sense of place, and is just more interesting than being inside. They are also getting mentored by college students which is a population most do not often interact with. For the college students the benefits are great as well. When the students become the teachers, they take the material more seriously and delve deeper into the subject matter. Moreover, the professor from Queens, Reed Perkins, said that this lab is always the student’s favorite. And who wouldn’t love to get critters out of a stream and examine them. Let’s hope the spring weather arrives soon.