Earth Science Students Travel to Lake George’s Floating Classroom
The ninth- and 10th-grade students of Ms. Kenyon’s honors earth science class traveled to Lake George to partake in the Lake George Association’s Floating Classroom for a day of studying various concepts relating to the lake and its surrounding area. The Lake George Association, which runs the program, has been educating the public about protecting the lake since 1885. Upon arrival, the students were given a small booklet featuring the many topics that the day’s journey would cover. The students were then ushered onto the boat Rosalie for a ride out on the lak,e to a spot where they would perform many hands-on activities. Their guide for portion of the day which would be spent on the boat, Kirsten Rohne, a watershed educator for the Lake George Association, proceeded to then explain the characteristics of Lake George, such as its size, appearance, and how it was formed. The lake was in fact formed through glaciers and earthquakes over the past two million years. Once the boat stopped, the students used a secchi disk, a weighted black-and-white disk, to monitor the water quality. Although it was an overcast day, the water was calm and the readings proved that the clarity of Lake George was impressive. In the next activity, the students were able to observe several types of plankton under a microscope. Afterwards, they measured the pH — the measure of whether a substance is an acid or base, of the water, which had a rather neutral reading. From these activities, students learned that Lake George is one of the healthiest lakes in New York and why it is a popular tourist attraction for many during the heat of the summer.
Did you know that everyone lives in a watershed? Actually, let’s back it up, do you know what a watershed is? A watershed is the land around a water body that drains into the said water body. No matter where you live on Earth, you are in a watershed. Here in Granville, we are situated in the Lake Champlain watershed. The Lake George watershed is part of the larger Lake Champlain watershed. After the boat trip, the students were brought to a recreational area in Lake George by their land guide, Jill Trunko, to continue exploring the science of watersheds. While in the wooded area, they were informed that there are three ways that Lake George obtains its water: groundwater, precipitation and streams. These three can also bring polluted and harmful substances into the lake. The students were brought to the Westbrook Stream, a tributary to Lake George. At the stream, they were able to catch macroinvertebrates — or “macros” — very small bugs that live in the stream, using nets, bowls and rubber boots. From observing the types of macros that take shelter in the stream, it can tell a person whether or not the stream is healthy, and of course it is hoped that healthy water is being brought into Lake George. From the students’ findings, it was decided that the stream was indeed healthy. After a long day of learning about the local lake and its watershed, the students retired back into their normal routines. However, if one piece of knowledge was made clearer to the students above all us, it is the responsibility of the public to keep their lake healthy.