Water Quality Student Reflections


Check out the comments for reflections from LCHS students about the water quality field experience at Gotham Bay in 2013 and Blackwell Island in 2014!

Students, please post a reflection below in the “Reply” field using the questions on the hand-out on the last page of your field packet.


42 thoughts on “Water Quality Student Reflections

  1. The most meaningful part moment for me on the Gotham Bay field trip was when I caught small mouth bass off of the docks. My least favorite part of the field trip would be the rain, too bad we didnt luck out on a sunny day. -Cody Jahns

    • The most valuable thing i learned from Thursdays experience was how to take actual and accurate water tests. Water quality affects the community when water is being pumped out of the W.T.F. The Field learning experience was similar to in school learning because we were always with a teacher and different because we were outside doing hands on learning (much better this way) instead of in a classroom. My favorite part was being able to walk around in Waiters and finding really small bugs. Thursdays experiences made me realize the importance of proper water treatment. Most human understanding is insufficient and most don’t know the importance of water resources and how water should be taken care for.

  2. The most meaningful moment for me on the Gotham Bay field trip would be… Being able to put the waders on and actually getting in the water. Even though they wern’t the most water proof waders it was fun collecting samples of macroinvertebrates. My lest favorite part would have probably been the cold weather that got in the way of some of our sampling. – Alanna Engle

  3. Alexis Rollins
    I was unable to attend the Gotham Bay field trip, but from what I have heard from my classmates it was very educational and a great new experience. It was fun to see pictures and learn about the new ways that we can help the environment and new do testing that we had not done before.
    I am looking forward to being able to attend the next field trip and be a part of the fun learning !
    My least favorite part was that I wasn’t there

  4. Gabby V- The most meaningful part of our fieldtrip to Gotham Bay was the satisfaction in knowing that our data gathered would be able and viewable by the public and that we were serving as citizen scientists.
    My least favorite part was fishing because I don’t like killing fish.

  5. The most meaningful moment for me on the trip was riding on the boats because it was fun and i learned a lesson about taking invatory of my equipment. The weather could have been better for the trip. Michael Carr

  6. Anthony- The most memorable moment from the field trip was when we got to fish, because it was a break that allowed us to enjoy the lake without having to be preoccupied with school. Bad weather was my least favorite part, but unfortunately we had no control over that.

  7. The most meaningful portion of the trip for me was a combination of all the elements in our adventure. The fact that twenty-something students were all actively learning through hands on experiences while being surrounded by passionate and driven individuals. The opportunity presented to us all through members of The Confluence Project is of a rare kind and I am incredibly grateful to be able to be a part of it! A small part of the experience I feel could be improved would be a higher stress on quality and accuracy.

    Love, Kassidy Bane

  8. Nic SHHHHteinah- My favorite part of the field trip was fishing after we did our testing and hanging out with friends. My least favorite part of the field trip was the poor weather.

  9. Abby-
    The most memorable moment from the field trip was definetly putting on waders and getting in the lake to collect organisms. My least favorite part of the trip was how cold it was, combined with the rain. It made collecting samples more difficult and less fun.

  10. I think one of the most meaningful parts of the trip for me was being able to go fishing; I’ve only ever gone rarely, and it was so great to actually catch something! I think the trip could have been improved by better weather, which I feel would have been condusive to a more organized system of data collection and education.

    –Adelle Kincel

  11. The most meaningful experience during the field trip was trying to find macroinvertebrates in the lake. It made me realize that even under a little rock, there can be creatures that contribute to the ecosystem. It was fun rustling through the coarse sand and pebbles looking for the critters. Identifying the organisms was really cool too. We found a lot of varying species, and it made me appreciate the biodiversity in the lake. My least favorite part of the field trip was the weather. Of course this is an element that we can’t control, but we could have been way more productive if the weather was better.

  12. My favorite part of the Gotham Bay feild trip was the collecting and analysis of the tiney organisms living in the lake’s sediment. I had never depthfully looked at the variety of life in this lake before this activity. The nap I took on the bus could have been better. I recieved a small neck ache.

  13. My favorite part of the file trip was finding all of the critters living in the soil of the lake! I had no idea how many tiny organisms there were. I do wish we would have had more time to do that portion though. I also really loved testing the quality of the lakes water! I found it very interesting. Overall the entire trip was fun and exciting!

  14. The most valuable thing I took from our trip to Blackwell Island was that, there is a lot of coal and silver, and other mining sediment left over from old mining days, and that during the spring the mountain run off stirs that up and during the spring the water is not at all okay to drink but once that sediment settles in the late summer and fall the water isn’t so dangerous. And all along the shore line there is sediment and its not even okay to touch.

  15. One of the most valuable things I learned on this trip is that if we don’t do something about the pollution in our waters, the future generations will eventually have a hard time finding fresh water. We need to constantly know about our water’s quality and become more aware of the history of how that pollution got there in the first place. Also, we need to take time and think through different ways to clean up the pollution and also ways o prevent it from happening in the first place. I liked this trip because we were learning, but it was in a more interactive way because we were outside instead of in a classroom. My favorite part of the whole day was the kayaking tour, but everything else was still really interesting. One fascinating thing I realized on this field trip is that there are a bunch of scientists out there who specialize in one or more aspects of water research. I know that after this trip, I know more about the water quality in our area. But unfortunately, I don’t thing people in general quite understand everything that they need to about the environment to help think of creative ways to help prevent pollution. Hopefully, in the future, more people will want to become aware of this issue and will want to put forth an effort to help.

  16. 1. Though there were many things I learned on this field trip, many of which I already knew a little about, I think the most important thing I learned is that most countries of the world don’t have an effective way of disposing with their waste. It is extremely concerning to me that, in many parts of the world, people are still living with sewage systems no more advanced than those of the dark ages, i.e. ditches in the ground leading to a central point where the sewage is dumped right back into the water supply with little to no sanitation. This not only has to be causing problems with the local humans’ health, but it might also be polluting their water (and causing algal blooms and species die-offs) to such an extent that it could affect their entire ecosystem.

    2. Water quality impacts our community in several ways. From the kayak tour, I saw that good water quality allows for recreation involving that water, which brings commerce and people to the area. From the Waste Water Treatment Facility tour, I learned that the cleaning of waste water is essential to keeping an area’s water quality high and preventing pollution and algal blooms. From the Science Reading and Writing activity, I learned that water pollution can have drastic and immediate to long-term effects on the people in an environment; for example, children around the Silver Valley were found about twenty years ago to have several times the safe level of lead in their blood due to the large release of lead by mining in the area. And from the Water-Quality Testing activity, I learned that changes in water quality — oxygen-content, pH, nutrient level, and all other abiotic factors — can hurt biotic factors greatly in a short amount of time, and those abiotic factors determine exclusively which organisms can live in an environment.

    3. The field learning was similar to typical learning in that both, especially with science classes, are focused around labs and lectures driven by teachers and the questions they ask. They are different, first of all, because field learning is literally “in the field” and out of the classroom, and it is also different in that the class is broken down into small units acting and learning with one or more teachers and experts.

    4. My favorite part of the field trip was learning about which abiotic factors and biotic factors affect each other, and how the existence of certain macroinvertibrates can hint at the health of an ecosystem.

    5. I learned that careers in water resources and hydrology, such as waste water treatment, are much harder than I originally expected them to be. I’d originally assumed that the removal of waster from water would be something like running it through a net or something easy like that, but it’s obviously much more complicated (and expensive) with all of the microbe treatments and chemical reactions involved that I never knew about.

    6. As for my personal viewpoint on human understanding of water resources, while I’ll always advocate for more research to be undertaken on any subject, we obviously know a lot about how biotic and abiotic factors in environments interact, especially in those environments we live around and interact with, like rivers. On a basic level, at least, the general body of scientific research and data, I’d say, is readily available for improving current conditions and preventing future problems involving water pollution. However, I think the real issue we’re having is springing from both the specific and rarer forms of pollution, like high-levels of heavy metals in river sediments caused by industrial mining, which we have less experience dealing with, and from the general lack of scientific literacy within the public which is causing problems to continue because the average citizen has no idea, or may not even care about, what needs to be done to reduce their impact on the environment.

  17. 1. One of the most valuable things I learned today was that everything we do or don’t do affects the water and its quality so we need to be aware of how we are helping or harming the water sources near us.
    2. Examples of how water quality affects us and our community from the four activities are:
    -Macro invertebrates in the rivers and streams depend on good water quality
    -All the pollutants on rivers and lakes change the quality of water and life in it
    -Water coming out of the WWTP can make us sick if not cleaned properly
    -The mining companies damaged water and caused people to have higher levels of lead in their blood streams
    3.The field trip was similar to typical learning because we were given information and had to apply it to something but it differed because classrooms and usually less hands-on.
    4. My favorite part of the trip was kayaking.
    5. The trip helped me understand that there are more careers to do with water than I initially thought and all of them are important to having clean water.
    6. I think the trip showed me the importance of clean water is a bigger issue than most people think and we need to help the rest of our community understand that so we can all actively try to have a positive influence on our water resources.

  18. I thought that this was a really great field trip! It was great to be outdoors and be engaged in what we were doing rather than just sitting in a classroom all day. My favorite part was the water quality testing/biological assessment because I got to get a closer look at our environment and the science behind it. I learned that there is a huge amount of waste and metal pollution in our freshwater sources from old mines that used to run into the water which is now harming wildlife, and that fact gets overlooked. Our community doesn’t seem to have as good of a grasp on what it takes to get the water in our houses the way it is. I also understand exactly how much testing and work goes into water quality now (i.e. fieldwork with testing water and the wastewater treatment plant) and I have a better appreciation for it. All in all a really awesome experience!

  19. The most valuable thing I learned today on the field trip is that there is more things in the water than just people and fish there are also little tiny organisms. Through the four activities that we did i saw how different activities affect water quality. Economic activity like mining can pollute the lakes and rivers affecting the health of people and the environment. That things like logging can affect the landscape of the water. Macro invertebrates need good quality water to survive. We need to be aware of what we are putting back into the water. It was set up like a lab format like at school but it was also different in the fact that we were outside doing science that wasn’t just for a grade it was science that will be recorded. My favorite part of the day is the fact I was outside all day. It has made me some what interested in the science fields. This has made me interested in water resource field. This day has made me realize that we have a great resource that could be used that people need to respect more.

  20. The most valuable thing I learned from Thursday is that water can look clean even when it really isn’t. Water quality impacts our community when the pH levels are too high or too low and it starts to kill off living organisms. Thursday’s field learning was similar to typical learning because we still had to record everything that we did like a regular day of school and it was different because we got to have first person experience. My favorite part of the field learning was going kayaking because if was fun to experience something new. Thursday’s experiences showed me that there are many different types of careers in water resources that range from cleaning it to testing it. After Thursday my viewpoint of the human understanding of water resources is that we know quite a bit about it but we have a lot more to learn because it is always changing.

  21. The most valuable thing I learned on the field trip was that there are so many variables that can affect the freshwater in my area. In the four activities we did, I discovered how water quality impacts the community. During the kayak tour, I learned that logging can affect the water quality the area around the water. In the water assessments I learned about all the variables that can affect the freshwater and the macroinvertebrates living in the water. Such as, the water temp, the water level, the amount of oxygen in the water, and the plant life on the shores. During the reading I learned how mining can affect the Coeur d’Alene lake and the rivers and streams, which can harm people and the wildlife. Lastly, at the WWTP, I learned how they treat the water to prevent water pollution and algae blooms, which can take away the oxygen from the water. My favorite part of the trip was the standing water assessment and the biological assessment. Before this trip, I didn’t really know how many careers there was that involved helping the water. The trip helped me understand how great of an affect we have on our water resources. What we put on the water can have dangerous long term effect on the environment. I now have more respect for the people we met on the trip who work to help the water.

  22. To me, the most valuable thing I learned from my experiences was learning all about what goes into our lake, rather thinking it isn’t the cleanest thing. It was also nice to learn how they treat our sewer water before dispersing it in our lake. I would also have to say my favorite part about field learning was getting the hands on experience and learning to kayak!!

  23. 1) Before this trip, I had no idea about the water pollution in the lake and rivers. I think learning this information was most valuable because now I know and it makes me want to help and get involved.
    2) -While reading the article, I learned about the pollution in the water and how that affects the water we all swim in
    -During the tour the of the facility, I learned first hand how our water is cleaned and how this process helps our community stay clean.
    -While I was kayaking, I learned about how the boats and marinas directly affect the pollution of the water
    -Testing the water samples taught me how dissolved oxygen, pH, turbidity, and temperature affect the water pollution
    3) It was same in the sense that I learned some cool information, but actually doing hands-on activities created a much better and more fun learning experience. It was different because we were outside all day, instead of a classroom.
    4) My favorite part of the field trip was kayaking. This was my first time kayaking, ever, and it was such a fun time! Being on lake and and being surrounding by the mountains made for a gorgeous and calming scenery.
    5) Having a tour of the Wastewater facility, I now have a better understanding of what those people do and how they do it. Also, testing the water quality with the UI scientists, and being taught by them directly, helped me learn about the water quality in a very easy way.
    6) This field trip has helped me understand the Wastewater facility and how exactly that works, and I’ve learned more about our water resources, and how important it is to keep our water clean.

  24. 1. The most valuable thing I learned was how human action can directly influence many different environmental factors.
    2. How each of the four activities influence me and the community:
    -Kayaking: High water quality allows us to go kayaking and enjoy the outdoors.
    -Water testing: Our actions change certain factors in the water changing food sources, different life forms, etc.
    -Reading: mining in silver valley effects lake pollution in many extreme ways
    -Waste Treatment facility:The facility is starting to put out even cleaner water which has a positive impact on both the human population as well as organisms in the rivers and lakes.
    3. The field trip was similar to a normal day of school because it was a lot of the same teachers and students. However it was very different because I learned way more and it was a lot more fun being in an outdoor environment.
    4. My favorite part was the Abiotic water testing.
    5. The field trip shaped my understanding of water resources and hydrology careers because it gave me an idea as to what exactly they do, and their purposes of doing it.
    6. The field learning influenced my personal view point on human understanding of water resources because it showed me how much the general population doesn’t know about waste treatment and water quality.

  25. 1. The most valuble thing I learned at Blackwell Island was that we have a lot of garbage and debris running off into our river and water sources through the storm drains. Everything that is washed through the streets and into the storm drains ends right up in our river without any sort of filter.
    2. Water impacting our community:
    -Life in our water life fish is dependant on abiotic factors like water temperature, phosphorus levels, and surrounding vegitation.
    -High levels of algae can cause fish populations to go down because when the algae dies, then bacteria eat up the algae using the energy that they get from the dissolved oxygen. That oxygen is also used by the fish and if the bacteria utilizes all the disolved oxygen, then that takes away from the fish.
    -There is a huge lead deposit from our mining days in the bottom of CDA lake. This is very dangerous to life in, on, and around the lake.
    -Thanks to the wastewater treatment plant, our wastewater doesn’t run straight into the Spokane River. The WWTP cleans the water and then repumps it back into the river cleaner than before.
    3. The reading and disscussions were very similar to classroom work. The physical activites were more engaging and I was able to really get into and understand what was being taught and why.
    4. My favorite part of the field learning was the Kayaking around Blackwell Island and learning the history of our river and lake area. It really opened my eyes to what us humans have on nature and what we do to it positively and negatively.
    5. The field experiences at Blackwell Island really opened my eyes that there are jobs in science, but more specifically hydrology. There were a lot more than I ever thought there was.
    6. The field experinences made me realize that there is a lot more, personally, that I can do to help keep our water cleaner and safer. We need to work as a community to utilize the water that we have, but at the same time don’t take it for granted, and make a better effort as a whole community to preserve and improve the water we have.

  26. 1. The most valuable thing I learned from todays experiences is our lakes and rivers need to be cleaned for the health and wellbeing of our wildlife, and us.

    2. Todays activities showed how crucial our water is to our community. In the wastewater treatment tour we learned how they clean the water so it can be put back in the lakes, and why they cleaned our water. In the outdoor writing we learned some scary information about our area, how the lead is affecting us. When we tested the water it was pretty healthy for the life it sustains. But even though its healthy now we must keep it that way so the life that depends on it doesn’t die. In the kayaking tour we learned about the Cougar bay and why no motorized boats can go there. It is to protect the birds that live there.

    3. The field learning experience was similar to typical learning experiences that I have completed in school because there were teachers and other adults there to help us and give us information. But this experience was different from a typical learning experience in that we got to collect real data about our water resources and the experience was very hands on.

    4. My favorite part about today’s field learning was the water quality testing because we got to see how scientists test our water, and we got to contribute to real scientific data.

    5. I learned about all the time and money that goes into making sure our water is clean. At the plant it takes hours to clean the water, and the equipment that cleans the water costs millions of dollars. With out this our lakes and rivers would have very harmful bacteria in them.

    6. Today I learned that the people in our community either don’t know what’s going on or they don’t know enough about what’s going on with our water resources. We need to educate people about the lead in our lakes and rivers and how it affects us, so we can clean our lakes and rivers.

  27. My favorite part was the kayaking, because it’s something I never thought I would be interested in, but now I can actually see my self doing it as a hobby in the future. The most valuable part, however, was the water quality testing and macro invertebrate testing, because we learned a lot about freshwater ecosystems and the abiotic and biotic factors in a real environment instead of in the classroom. Plus all the data we gathered is actually used instead of graded and never looked at again, which is cool.

  28. I think the most valuable thing that I learned on the field trip was the testing and observation of the abiotic and biotic factors in the water around Blackwell Island. It was also interesting when we observed the macro invertebrates living in the lakes sediment and how you can depict the condition of the lakes water from the species of macro invertebrates present. If I had to choose my least favorite part it would be the writing segment because it was a little distracting being outside and writing. Overall it was a really cool experience.

  29. The most valuable thing I learned today on our field trip was that water is so important to keep clean because we use it in so many different ways. Through the four activities, i learned how the water quality could impact me and our society. During the kayaking activity I learned that you want the water to clean so that you just go out and play in it! At the WWTP I learned that its very important to clean the water before putting it back in the lake or you there could be harmful bacteria put back in. The WWTP did this through various biological and mechanical techniques . During the water testing I learned that there are more than just amphibious mammals but there is also macro invertebrates that we cant see in the water. And that there is always a chance that pollution could be entering the river stream from like mines and such.in the writing assessment I learned that the mines could be polluting the water and we need to fix that or it will get worse. My favorite part about our field trip was kayaking with one of my good friends Taylor and just enjoying the outdoors with real science instead of just sitting in a classroom. After today’s hand on experiences with hydrology and water resources, I have a better understanding of what the careers deal with like trying to fix pollution problems or just finding simpler ways to make cleaning water easier! At the end of the day after all the experiences, I have a different view point on the water resource. We need to take better care of our resource because it is such a useful resource and if we don’t treat it right it may come back to us in a bad way.

  30. The most valuable thing I learned on this trip was how and where waste water is treated and purified before it is pumped back into the river. During the nature writing I visited the community garden which is where public grown produce is given to the needy, which is close to the Waste Water Treatment Plant where black & grey water is cleaned with the help of bacteria. Next I went Kayaking along Blackwell and the Spokane river where I learned of Cougar Bays past (which I may or may not have spearfished to begin with). Lastly I tested water quality which was surprisingly easy. I enjoyed this field trip because it showed me how science in the classroom relates to the science done in the field, however the part where there was no science and only kayaking was my favorite part of the trip. I can now appreciate how careers in water resources and hydrology work along with a growing city. However, our water system is a fragile one that depends on all of its parts functioning together and how the entire system cannot work without one of said parts.

  31. The most valuable thing I learned the day of the field trip was that not all of the water in our lake is contaminated and gross, a lot of it is fairly clean. I learned a lot about the quality of our lake water, the pollution it has, and the macro invertebrates hidden in it throughout the four activities. It was very different from sitting in a classroom all day. I liked being outside and engaged in what we were studying and I feel like it helped me understand a lot better. My favorite part of the trip was kayaking because it was fun to see Blackwell Island. The field trip helped me get a better grasp on just how complex water resources are.

  32. 1. The most valuable thing I learned is that having clean water is a very imortant necessity that a lot of places don’t have.
    2. From the water testing i learned that water quality impacts the whole ecosystem. From kayaking I learned that clean water determines the way people live. From the treatment plant I learned that we can’t just dump raw sewage into the river, and from the writing i learned the impact mining can have on the water.
    3. It was different because we were outside doing real science for real people to see.
    4. My favorite part was the water quality testing and learning about everything in the water.
    5. It showed me that there are lots of careers available for people wanting to keep Earth clean.
    6. It showed me that a lot of people dont actually have a good understanding of our water resources.

  33. 1. The most valuable thing I learned today was the complexity of biodiversity in such little areas in bodies of water. I didn’t understand the mass of aquatic life that is essential to aquatic ecosystems.
    2. Water Treatment Plant- Without the plant, the whole Coeur d’ Alene Community wouldn’t have clean water to drink or to enjoy in the river, let alone be healthy for aquatic life.
    Writing Activity- The minerals from mining have been poisoning crucial animal species which could potentially mess up the food chain.
    Water Testing- Micro invertebrates are a serious part of aquatic life and without them, biodiversity wouldn’t exist.
    Kayaking- Coeur d’ Alene Lake has been a huge part of Coeur d’ Alene’s history and continues to keep growing scientifically and historically.
    3. In school and in the field, we both had to write what we learned down for rhetorical analysis. We also had to give the speaker respect and attention in order to keep a positive learning experience. However in school we are a lot less interactive. Personally I learn better in the classroom because there are less distractions.
    4. My favorite part about today’s field trip was examining the micro invertebrates even though my group did not have time to determine what species they were. I thought it was really cool that there are billions of living organisms that we can’t even see. This also applies to the microbes at the waste water treatment plant.
    5. I learned that in order to have a career in water resources or hydrology you have to obtain an immense amount of education. It also is a lot of hard work both in the field and in the lab. People who are in those careers truly care about our environment.
    6. I think humans have a good understudying of water resources but I definitely think we could know more as a community and should take those steps to do so. How my generation reacts and acts towards the environment, determines our future.

  34. The most valuable thing that I learned on this trip that i saw where the treated water came out of the Waste Water Treatment Facility. With the Standing water assessment, I figured out that the fish in our lake like to have a high dissolved oxygen level. It was similar because in 8th grade I help take care the kokanee that we had in our fish tank and we used all of the tools except the transparency tube. It was different by being in the field and see how we impact the stream along with the ducks that swam in it. My favorite part was the kayaking around the lake and river. It makes me understand what is going on with my creek at home and how we try to fix the erosion problems and trying to introduce the fish back into the creek. The influence on my view point hasn’t really change but it allowed me to get a better understanding of what we already know.

  35. By far one of the most constructive field trips I’ve been apart of! My favorite part was gathering macro-invertebrates and looking at all of the differnt species. I learned a lot of new things about the importance of water quality to the ecosystem and human life. Most humans take water resources for granted but after last week’s experience I learned the value of doing my part to keep our local water sytems in tip-top shape!

  36. 1. The most valuable thing I learned was how to operate and do a standing water assessment and how to observe the surroundings that affected the water quality.
    2. Water Quality Testing- The quality affects the macroinvertabrates which then effects the fish, then that leads to humans.
    Kayaking- The storm water comes right into the river, including all waste in the streets.
    Science Writing- Our dirty water goes through a process and comes out clean using bacteria that eats away the waste.
    3.The things that we were taught today that involved hands-on projects were things we hear about in school, but on this feild trip, we actually got to expierence it ourselves!
    4. The kayaking trip was definately my favorite because it was fun!
    5. I understand how important it is to keep our water clean and safe not for just our benefit, but for the plants and animals too.
    6. Todays field learning influenced my personal viewpoint because I found it way more interesting than I did before. I realized it takes a lot of interaction and hard work to learn and keep track of our water sanitation.

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