Science students spend the day learning at Meriden’s Hanover Pond

Science students spend the day learning at Meriden’s Hanover Pond


MERIDEN — Platt High School students got a chance to examine the environment around a section of the Quinnipiac River in Meriden Wednesday by taking samples of organisms and a kayak tour of the banks.

Twenty-three students participated in the field trip, part of the Quinnipiac River Watershed Association environmental education program that’s funded in part by a grant from 3M. Students from Maloney High School and Lyman Hall High School in Wallingford participated in similar programs last week.

Students who participated Wednesday were all enrolled in Environmental Sciences or Advanced Placement Biology courses. The students tested the river’s water quality by identifying the macro-organisms that call it home.

Platt students set out early Wednesday to do some riffle sampling, a process where students take water and sediment samples from riffles, or fast-moving, rocky areas of the river.

Armed with buckets full of water, stones, and sediment from Hanover Pond, students returned to QRWA headquarters to assess what they’d collected.

Gerry Emple, a retired Platt science teacher and QRWA volunteer, helped guide students in their work. He explained the discovery of certain organisms in the river indicate good water quality because those organisms can only thrive in a clean, oxygenated environment.

“Mosquito larvae, black flies — those things can live in an abandoned tire,” Emple said, “but stone flies, mayflies — you won’t find those types of organisms unless there’s clean water.”

Ginny Chirsky, another QRWA volunteer, said samples from past school groups indicated “improving water quality.”

Students broke into groups to analyze their samples and identify the organisms they contained.

One group of seniors took turns peering through magnifying equipment to identify a particularly tricky specimen. After some discussion, Axel Olivares said, “We think we have a midge.”

Olivares, along with classmates Melony Edwards and Hayley Dudley were enrolled in the school’s environmental science course.

He said the trip helped bring to life the lessons from the classroom.

“It makes it easier to connect to what we’re learning,” Olivares said.

After a brief lunch recess, students were given an introduction on kayaking, then put their new skills to the test with a launch into Hanover Pond. Students got the chance to view wildlife along the pond from their water tour.

“We’ve seen blue herons, green herons, all sorts of wildlife out here,” Chirsky said before the kayak tour. “Hopefully we’ll see some of that today.”

Aside from learning about water quality, Chirsky hoped the trip fostered a sense of conservation in the students.

“This is a beautiful resource we have right here in Meriden,” she said. “We have to take care of this river.” 203-317-2279 Twitter: @MollCal

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