More than a dozen Eastern Middle School students, participating in SoundWaters Coastal Science Investigation program, have spent the past 10 weeks at Tod’s Point, the Mianus River Park fishway and in science labs researching animal and habitat diversity in the Long Island Sound watershed. They presented a recap of their field experiences and research findings on Wednesday, Jan. 4, at Greenwich Town Hall.
During their investigation the students engaged in numerous hands-on activities. At the shore, they turned over rocks. They used seine nets and dip nets while standing in knee-deep water (protected by full-body waders). They examined specimens under microscopes, dissected squid, canoed in Long Island Sound and recorded and analyzed all their data.
For example, the students discovered significant species diversity due to geographical location and characteristics of the habitats. At Tod’s Point, where the site faces open water, they did not see fish. However at Cove Island Park in Stamford, which is more protected and enclosed, they found schools of small silverside fish, which were not seen at Tod’s Point.
The students reported their findings during a power point presentation and through a poster outlining their results, which will be on display. Following the formal presentation, the students answered questions from the audience.
SoundWaters’ Coastal Science Investigation program is an-after-school science enrichment and environmental education program that supports and enhances the students’ in-class science curriculum. The focus of CSI is on thinking like a scientist. In order to achieve this the students used key scientific tools, worked through problems using the scientific methods — developing hypothesis, testing hypotheses, designing experiments, collecting data, analyzing data, determining results and presenting outcomes.
Led by two SoundWaters educators, Amy Arent and Lilia Salas, the Eastern MS students tested filtration rates of the salt marsh at Greenwich Point, sampled fish at the Fishway in Greenwich, conducted biodiversity experiments at Mianus River Park, seined at Cove Island Park in Stamford, canoed on Holly Pond and tested water quality parameters from samples collected at each location.