During the 2010-2011 school year MyRWA engaged students in Chelsea High School’s AP Environmental Studies class. The students learned about the Mystic River Watershed, water quality monitoring methods and concepts, and local ecology through this hands-on environmental education initiative. In fall 2010 the students examined water quality of Chelsea Creek and the Mystic River via a boat-based tour. For many of them, this was their first time on the Mystic and allowed them the opportunity to see their community, and the water that connects them, from a different perspective.
By spring 2011 the students were ready to investigate salt marshes - an important habitat in the Boston area and one that is historically significant. In June the students took a culminating field trip to Thompson Island, one of the Boston Harbor Islands. Here, with guidance from the National Park Service, the students compared a restored and pristine salt marsh. The students measured plant diversity via a transect line study, analyzed dissolved oxygen levels in the marsh, and had a blast searching for crabs, snails, fish and other organisms in the salt marsh. They ended the field trip with a trip to Mill Creek to observe the salt marsh in Chelsea.
“Working with the Mystic River Watershed Association and the National Park Service was a wonderful boost to our AP Environmental Science Program. The students and I really benefited from these partnerships. Students were able to directly experience the occupations that are a part of Environmental Science. I hope that we can make the program even stronger next year through our continued cooperation,” stated Catherine Erickson, AP Environmental Science Instructor at Chelsea High School.
It is MyRWA’s hope that the students ended the school year with a better understanding and appreciation of the Mystic River Watershed and environmental studies. Many thanks to Catherine, Dawn and David for making this project possible!
This project is part of the Lower Mystic Initiative which is generously funded by The Boston Foundation.