LIMA — Some wore boots, others, just tennis shoes. Twenty first-graders from St. Gerard Catholic School went wading in the Ottawa River Friday afternoon, looking for signs of life.
The activity was part of an educational outreach program from the Ottawa River Coalition.
The field trip took the students to a location at the end of Metzger Road.
There, the students used kick seine nets to collect, identify and remove the different species of insects from the nets.
“I love hosting people of all ages in the river because most of our public does not see the river for the life that is in it, the fish, the insects,” said Beth Seibert, coordinator of the Ottawa River Coalition.
They also explored inside a building on the property where water is pumped into the city’s reservoirs.
“We’re also talking about how the city withdraws water from the Ottawa River and the Auglaize rivers for our drinking water. So we want the kids to understand that connection as well because our ultimate goal is to get them to foster a concern for the river system as children and as they grow into adults so they have a care and concern for that natural resource into the future,” she said.
The opportunity to study the insect and aquatic life of the river helps students better understand how important the river is.
“We tie it back into their curriculum. We solicit the help of teachers that are teaching environmental and ecology in their classes. The biggest thing is, so many people look at the ditches and the streams and the rivers in our county and they don’t see it for life. They don’t recognize that it is life-giving natural resource,” she said.
The students collected and cataloged more than a dozen different species of insects.
“The reason I like doing an insect collection from the river as a water quality assessment is it’s easy and it’s quick and it’s effective but today based on the number of different kinds of species that we find of these insects in the river we’re going to be able to make a water quality assessment of anywhere from fair to excellent,” she said.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.