The Buckingham County 6th Grade MWEE starts off with an investigative question: does the James River State Park have any impact on the water quality of the James River?
The first part of the student investigation involves a macroinvertebrate study. Leaf bags are placed above and below the park. Half the class searches through leaf litter from above the Park and the other half searches through leaf litter below the Park. Staff from James River State Park as well as Buckingham VCE assist the District in helping the students identify the macroinvertebrates. The conclusion from the first part of the MWEE is that the James River State Park does not have an impact on the water quality of the James River. Both sites had potentially good to excellent water quality based on the macroinvertebrate study.
The second part of the student investigation is a field day in the spring. Students took an incredible journey as a water drop and reviewed the water cycle. They conduct chemical and physical tests on water samples from the James River above and below the Park. They also conduct erosion experiments and learned that sediment from erosion is the number one pollutant in our waterways, and they map out their watershed address after receiving an enviroscape demonstration.
The conclusion: Water quality above and below James River State Park is in the good to excellent range and the Park does not have an impact on the water quality of the James River.
Students are then given the opportunity to write a reflective essay to win a scholarship to Watershed Exploration Camp.