Water is Life, Treat it Right at Prairie Woods ELC

Written and submitted by Ali Dahmes, YES! Coordinator


On Tuesday, February 6th, 2018, 30 students and their coaches from New London-Spicer Middle School (NL-S), Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City (ACGC), and NL-S High School YES! teams came together to learn about water quality, best management practices, and aquatic invasive species at Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center. 

Dylan Erickson, a watershed specialist with Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District, began the morning with a deep listening exercise to teach students the difference between having an everyday conversation and how to really listen to someone’s opinion without continually trying to think of a response.  He taught the students that not only does telling a story take a lot of practice, so does listening to someone else’s story!

Following that, students heard from Charlene Brooks, Aquatic Invasive Species Task Force Coordinator for Kandiyohi County. Students learned what an invasive species is, compared to native and non-native species, as well as how to identify some of the most detrimental aquatic invasive species in our area. Students also got to examine actual invasive species specimens that are common in Kandiyohi County. Charlene also played ball games with the students that showed the impact shorelines have on the ecosystem, depending on what the shoreline is made up of (native plants vs non-native plants). 

Following that, the students heard from Jon Morales, Watershed Program Manager with Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District. Jon educated the students on what a watershed is, where they are in the state, and what they do for the community. He also showed all the instruments that they use to take water samples and had students take actual secchi tube readings. He also explained what a best management practice was and projects that have gone up in our community like the tree trenches at the ACGC and NL-S middle schools, the shoreline restoration projects at the Mill Pond and Neer Park in New London MN, and others in Spicer MN.

The day was finished up learning how to properly plan a project and who to get involved in the community.  All of the topics discussed will be applicable to ACGC and NL-S as the students work on water quality projects this year. The YES! Program is excited to see what the students complete throught the spring, summer, and fall!  

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