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Living Water

Windsor 7 is Knee Deep in Plankton May 16

The Windsor 7 kids are working on their current expedition, Living Water. Living Water is an expedition about plankton and the Gulf of Maine. We have gone on two field experiences already. We plan to go on our third one soon.

We have been learning all about plankton and how they impact the Gulf of Maine. You may not think they’re all that important but they are the basis of our diverse ecosystem.

Plankton are the original producers of oxygen in our atmosphere and made life for animals on land possible. Today they account for 70 percent of the oxygen we breath and play a major role in the carbon cycle which is at the heart of global warming science.

Students Kickoff the Expedition at the Wells Nature Reserve

See the movie.

We got our first taste of collecting and examining plankton at the Wells Nature Reserve. After collecting samples, we returned to the lab to see plankton up close, learn about the differences between zooplankton and phytoplankton, and explore why these tiny organism play such a big role in life on earth.

Fieldwork and Service on the Casco Bay

To learn about Plankton first hand, we conducted fieldwork on the Casco Bay, at Mackworth island, the Maine Yacht Center, and the East End Beach. At these stations we did multiple water test, including dissolved oxygen, pH, salinity, temperature and water depth. These test are used by the Friends of Casco Bay to monitor the health of the ecosystem.

Once we get to our locations we were split into groups and were each assigned a test. We had to work fast because we had a time limit. Another obstacle was the weather. It could be nice but some times it was unforgiving. It is hard to do a DO when it feels like your hand is about to fall off because you have been reaching into water that is 13 degrees Celsius. Even though we had to out last the cold we still had a lot of fun and it was a good experience.

Collaborating Scientists

 

A big part of expeditions is getting to work with professionals from the field. In addition to collaborating with Friends of Casco Bay, we were lucky to spend time with Amy Cline and Tim Moore, researchers at UNH, who study plankton in the Casco bay. Tim and Amy presented recent scientific findings on climate change and shared the work of area scientists about plankton and climate.

The Journals: Our Final Product

The final product of our expedition, Living Water, was our journals. We had been working on them for the majority of the expedition. Everybody had a different journal, because the criteria wasn’t very strict. We needed a title page, a plankton page, and a page for each fieldwork experience.

When we first started the journals, Mrs. Maclean, the WIndsor 6 science teacher, came to show us some of her journals. She really got everyone excited, and put all of Windsor 7 in an artsy mood. We learned that journals aren't limited to words, but can include pictures, drawings, flaps and tabs, leaves, and any other artifacts we could find.