MATTHEW S. BERG
Students catch potential mussel host fish on the St. Croix River.
AS I LISTENED TO THE PRESENTATION, I had to keep reminding myself that these were high school students. The room full of biologists, teachers, students, and community members of Solon Springs, Wisconsin, are engaged as Aimee, a junior at Grantsburg High School, describes the life cycle of a freshwater mussel. Senior Ben takes over and describes the methods used to conduct a freshwater mussel survey on the upper St. Croix River. The Friends of the St. Croix Headwaters and Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, funded the project.
Nearly 30 biology students conducted qualitative and quantitative surveys last summer. Then eight research biology students analyzed the data and produced a complete research paper with quality GIS maps, graphs, and diagrams describing their results. They were now presenting their findings in a PowerPoint format to their funding sponsors. The students worked hard—several earned a certificate in scuba diving in order to conduct the research. They moved several tons of river sediment searching for mussels and quantifying sediment composition.
Their teacher, Matt Berg, was disappointed that all the research students were not able to attend this presentation because of basketball games. “They really nailed this presentation when we were at Macalester. I didn’t have to say a word. We missed Tyler tonight—he is the statistician of the group.” When I asked Matt how he got high school students to do such professional presentations, he said, “They don’t know they’re not supposed to be able to.”
Van Tatenhove, J. 2009. Students to the rescue of freshwater mussels at St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. Park Science 26(2):38–40.
Available at http://www.nature.nps.gov/ParkScience/archive/PDF/Article_PDFs/ParkScience26(2)Fall2009_38-40_VanTatenhove_2642.pdf.