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KCDS Students Test Health of Paint Creek



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Kingsbury Country Day middle school students collect water samples at Paint Creek. (click for larger version)
October 17, 2012 - By Lori Phillips

Special to the Leader

Oakland Township Twenty-eight Kingsbury Country Day middle-school students spent Thursday afternoon wading in Paint Creek near Clarkston Road. They brought nets, tape measures, thermometers, test tubes and other supplies, to collect information about the river.

The students are participating in the Adopt-a-Stream monitoring program for the Clinton River Watershed Council. The data collected will help local and state agencies become informed of important water quality and biodiversity issues.

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The velocity of the current was tested first, using an apple. Students went on to note other physical characteristics of the riverbed, including depth and width. They gathered water samples to test levels of pH, nitrates, and dissolved oxygen. (Some tests require a waiting period of up to five days.) When the final test results are recorded, they will be documented and delivered to the council.

KCDS on-site test results revealed that phosphates and nitrates were low, while dissolved oxygen levels were mid-range. The water temperature measurements ranged from 18-30 degrees Celsius, depending of where it was taken. Ana Phillips, a fifth grader, explained that it was difficult to hold the thermometer because of the strong current.

Fifth grader Keegan Nash said, "It was fun and cool to test the water." Danny Files, sixth grader, elaborated, "We found mud minnows, water striders and a few crayfish." Science teacher Leslie Ellis said, "I was surprised we didn't find a lot more macroinvertebrates. The water was clear, the river bottom is rocky, and there are a lot of ripples all which usually indicate good oxygen levels."

When asked how they thought the river may change in the spring, sixth grade student Tyler Rowe predicted that there might be more aquatic life.

The students also discussed how chemical pollutants and garbage can negatively affect biodiversity. Ariana Scott, fifth grader, found broken glass. A.J. LaRoche, sixth grader, found a shoe.

Students will return to the river in May to re-evaluate conditions and compare results. Meanwhile, KCDS will continue to facilitate similar hands-on community-service excursions throughout the year, in order to develop knowledgeable, responsible citizens.

If you would like to get involved in the Adopt-a-Stream Program, visit www.crwc.org or to learn more about Kingsbury Country Day School, visit www.kingsburyschool.org or call 248-628-2571.

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