Student scientists from Grant High School assess wetland condition at Mount Burr Swamp

Year 9 students from Grant High School recently visited Mount Burr Swamp Restoration Reserve to assess the health of the swamp. Nature Glenelg Trust ecologists Nicole and Bryan met with the students and helped them to develop a greater understanding of the function and role of native ecosystems, particularly wetlands, and how important it is for all land managers to care for these environments … and to understand when they are healthy and when they aren’t.

Grant High School students walking around the edge of Mt Burr Swamp

Nicole and Bryan spent time in the classroom with the students to chat about why biodiversity in environments such as wetlands is important and the various ways we can measure particular features of a wetland, including their plants and animals, to give an indication of overall ‘health’ or condition.

The students then put their new knowledge into action by undertaking three different monitoring components at the swamp. First the students were shown how to assess the condition of a wetland using a visual guide – which involved looking for the native and introduced vegetation components in and around a wetland. They then measured a variety of parameters of water quality using a water quality meter, and lastly identified the macro-invertebrate community living in each wetland.

Water quality meter used for measuring salinity, dissolved oxygen and range of other parameters. Photo by Grant High School

Students sampling for macro-invertebrates. Photo by Grant High School

Despite the leaky gum boots the day was full of learning and fun, with keen interest shown by the students.

Nature Glenelg Trust hopes to continue this relationship into the future with Grant High School and provide support for practical field-based application of their science curriculum.

Bryan Haywood