CHANGING CURRENTS

Submitted by Michael Frankfort @mfrank_76

ECOSPARK – CHANGING CURRENTS

INSPIRE YOUR STUDENTS TO GET OUT INTO NATURE WITH THIS POPULAR CITIZEN SCIENCE PROJECT!

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Changing Currents provides students in Greater Toronto Area with an interesting and inspiring outdoor program, introducing them to the scientific monitoring of local waterway health.

Wearing hip waders, students work in and around a local stream, learning about and then using an important scientific protocol for assessing the health of local waterways. The Ontario Benthic Biomonitoring Network (OBBN) protocol measures waterway health by monitoring various physical, chemical, and biological parameters such as benthic macro-invertebrates – small aquatic bugs – found in stream and riverbeds. The data collected by the students is contributed to the OBBN database and becomes available to researchers studying Ontario’s water quality.

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During the standard half-day workshop (morning or afternoon), student participants will assess the health of a local river or stream using EcoSpark’s modified OBBN protocol, contribute data to a GTA-wide study of watersheds and participate in a “Take Action” activity in their community during and/or following the field trip.

PROGRAM LOCATION & TIMES

Changing Currents takes place on waterways near participating schools. EcoSpark’s staff will work with teachers to select the most ideal stream or river location, with the help of the Changing Currents Water Quality Results Map, for study site options. Teachers will be provided with all necessary resources, prior to their session(s). We will bring all the equipment you will need!

The program is available to all students grades 6-12 from public and private schools. Sessions take place in the Spring (mid-April to mid-June) and Fall (mid-September through October). See below for details.

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FULL-DAY OPTIONS

While the basic Changing Currents program runs for a half-day period, full-day options with additional content are also available.

Changing Currents – School Watch
EcoSpark offers a Changing Currents – School Watch program which combines a half-day of stream studies with an additional half-day citizen science activity (options listed below) offered through our School Watch program:

  • Bird Studies

  • Pollinator Studies

  • Invasive Species Studies

  • Tree Identification

Each of these options include workshops that incorporate interactive citizen-science apps and databases, allowing students to collect and contribute data for scientific research and community mapping.

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SPECIALIST HIGH SCHOOLS MAJOR (SHSM) FULL DAY OPTION 

EcoSpark also offers a specialized Changing Currents workshop for SHSM students in the “Introduction to Stream Assessment Protocol” outlined in the SHSM Policy and Implementation Guide.

The Changing Currents SHSM program is a full-day certification study for Environmental SHSM students, earning them an “Introduction to Stream Monitoring” certificate. In addition to the morning field study, students take part in an afternoon in-class in-depth analysis of their results.  Students gain an understanding of how to conduct a water quality assessment, learn basic benthos identification, develop specific skills in identifying the taxonomic benthic groups, and use various indices to assess aquatic ecological health.

NOTICE FOR FALL 2022

Attention all teachers

Due to unforeseen circumstances, EcoSpark is currently unable to offer in-person Changing Currents sessions for the Fall 2022. ONLY VIRTUAL SESSIONS ARE AVAILABLE at this moment.

We apologize for any inconvenience caused.

For more information or questions
changingcurrents@ecospark.ca
or 647-258-3280 x 2011

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