Last week, the third graders at Chesnut went on a field trip to the Chattahoochee Nature Center.
During the trip each class got the chance to be junior scientists, scooping muck out of a pond with a net, and then examining it for invertebrates. The invertebrates were identified and then studied under a microscope. A naturalist from the Nature Center explained how invertebrates are bioindicators, meaning they are species that are used to indicate the health of an ecosystem. Certain species of invertebrates (such as the dragonfly nymph, which were plentiful in the pond) are more tolerant of pollution than others, which allows scientists to determine pollution level in water by the presence and absence of different invertebrates. The students determined that the pond at the Nature Center was mildly polluted.
The students also got to view a beaver habitat, and visit a butterfly garden and see several rescued raptors (birds of prey) including bald eagles, hawks and owls.
To learn more about how scientists use invertebrates as bioindicators, visit this link.