The LHS Topics of Ecology classes went on a field trip to Spring Creek last Tuesday and Wednesday in order to sample its ecosystem.

The classes traveled to the section of Spring Creek at Laprelle Park by Huck Finn Pond, and each of the classes, taught by Brian Spicer, sampled different sections of the stream for underwater organisms that fish like to eat.

“Each group did netting of the stream bottom and the sides, taking organisms off the rocks, and the reason we’re doing that is that we’re trying to do long-term health assessment on the stream and so the community organisms can tell us how healthy the stream is, and if we chart it year after year through the different seasons, we can tell if there’s changes, for better or worse, or if they stay the same,” Spicer said.

The objective for the field trip was for the class to perform stream health monitoring using different measurements.

“We then compile that with pH measurements, temperature measurements, flow rate, so that we can see why we find different communities in different locations and monitor any pH changes, oxygen changes, and we can start to look at what’s causing those changes and why it’s happening,” Spicer said.

The students will take those measurements taken at the field trip and perform a series of calculations, for instance Simpson’s Biodiversity Index, to calculate species’ richness and evenness.  They will however be returning to Spring Creek this Tuesday and Wednesday.

“We’re actually going to follow up by going to the stream with Dr. Frank J. Rahel from the University of Wyoming, and we are going to be doing electrofishing, which is taking an electrical current and putting it into the water to help us catch some fish., so we can see what kind of fish communities there are,” Spicer said.

Spicer has enjoyed going outdoors with the students collecting the stream data and doing the field trips, despite some weather conflicts.

“We had to cancel a few field trips last week (April 29-May 3).  We’ve always had to push them [the field trips] off in the spring semester until way at the end of May, and then we time crunch to get the data dealt with,” Spicer said.

If people like wildlife, ecology, and love going outside for field trips, then Topics of Ecology is a good class to consider taking in the future.