AP environmental science students go beyond the classroom

BlackstoneParkphoto_smBy Izzy R. ’16

On Wednesday, September 16, the AP Environmental Science class went on a field trip to Blackstone Park in Providence.

Our goal was to learn more about the Blackstone Parks Conservancy and how a watershed can affect the health of city parks. To start the day, the class was introduced to Doug Still, the official Forester of Providence. Doug gave us a synopsis of his job and how trees improve the health of a city. As we walked down to the boulevard with Doug, he taught us how to identify different types of trees by looking at the leaves, stem, trunk, and bark. Doug also explained the importance of properly pruning a tree, so that the bark is preserved. On our way to the park, some students from the class were able to participate in pruning a tree on Lloyd Avenue.

Once we reached Blackstone Park we were introduced to Jane Peterson, the President of the Blackstone Parks Conservancy.

Jane clearly expressed her love and appreciation for the park and explained the importance of conservation. The park has a lot of plant biodiversity and the many trails allows visitors to appreciate the 44 acres and 2 ponds.

During the day, students had the opportunity to test the chemistry of both ponds and search for biological life. We found that although the two ponds are close in location, they are very different. Testing showed that Hockey Pond has higher oxygen levels, which allows a greater population of organisms. In skimming the ponds with fishing nets, students were able to catch a baby snapping turtle, multiple small fish, and a few baby dragonflies. Unfortunately, we also came across large quantities of trash and plastic. Seeing the direct effects of pollution on the ponds emphasized the severity of the situation and inspire students to make a difference.

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