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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Santee Turns Mast Park into a Classroom

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Shannon Quigley of SD River Foundation with 4th graders
Santee city staffers  teamed up with the San Diego River Park Foundation to be guest teachers during a recent field trip with local fourth graders along the San Diego River.

The science-oriented excursion took place at Mast Park, where students from Rio Seco Elementary School learned about the river’s wildlife, water quality and ecology.

Fourth graders from teacher Heather Glanz’s  class took photos and notes, which they took back to the classroom to expand on what they had learned in the field.
Shannon Quigley of the River Foundation showed students the proper way to take water samples from the river and test them for acidity, dissolved oxygen and water clarity.
Simulating how pollutants enter the river
“I loved when we were all at the river dipping our samples and waiting for the temperature to normalize and counting to 60 together out loud,” Quigley said.
Santee Storm Water Program intern Nicole Sabay provided a lesson on how trash and pollutants carried by storm drains end up in the river and affect the water quality and wildlife.
 To illustrate how pollutants enter the river, Sabay  had students pour liquid into a plastic tube (simulating a storm drain) that emptied into a large plastic basin with rubber ducks and plastic fish.
Sarah Hutmacher and Shelsea Ochoa  from the River Foundation gave a lesson on native plants and leaf adaptation, allowing the kids to inspect the flora up-close with magnifiers.
“Through hands-on exploration of native plants, insects, and water quality, we hope to inspire the next generation of environmental stewards,” Hutmacher said.
Arborist Annette Saul, Santee’s Parks and Landscape Supervisor, explained the benefits of native trees and plants.
 “It was really fun to see how excited the kids were to be in an outdoor classroom,” Saul said.  “The students were able to understand how the river, native plants and trees are all connected in our local environment.”

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