SHS Students Conduct Wetlands Study
Science teachers Norma Bursaw (left) and Laura Preston (above) work with students in the field and in the lab gathering and testing materials found in local wetlands.
A healthy wetland will reflect certain flora and fauna, as well as chemical and physical parameters that indicate the condition of the environment. Wetlands are important resources as they “reduce flooding, improve water quality, reduce sediment load, are water discharge points, buffer shorelines against erosion, provide protective cover and food for wildlife, provide spawning grounds, and are recreational and educational areas.” (ASNH) They are also somewhat protected by the federal government through the Clean Water Act. The permit program helps to encourage people to protect the wildlife habitat of the locale. (ASNH) It is important for residents of communities to understand their responsibility in coexisting with nature so destruction is minimal. Everyone benefits when ground water is clean and healthy.
The objective of this project was to assess the health of the wetlands adjacent to Salem High School and provide a baseline for the community to use in the future for further study of the local wetlands. Salem High students and teachers communicated the results to the local Salem Conservation Commission.
Students studied and learned the value of a wetland, the flora and fauna living in a typical wetland, the representative chemical properties of a healthy wetland including dissolved oxygen content, pH, temperature, and salinity/conductivity of the water at various locations. The teachers assisted in instruction of the material and teaching the proper use of the equipment to collect and record the data parameters to assess the condition and health of the Geremonty Drive wetland.