On a sunny fall day this November, a group of about 15 seniors from Lee-Davis High School in Mechanicsville, Virginia, got a chance to learn about the James River hands-on during a CBF education experience. Outings like these are key to educating students about the environment, says Lee-Davis teacher Lesa Berlinghoff. "CBF has given them an opportunity to engage in field experiences in a true context, something that we can't always accomplish in the lab or classroom," she says. "My hope is that it will enlighten future decisions they make when it comes to using our water resources wisely. For some, this experience will ignite a passion for the environment and possibly enlighten them about future career opportunities."
The results of these tests show how pollution from nearby cities, suburbs and farms affects the health of the waterway. Despite the relatively muddy waters, the group found that the river is in overall better shape than they expected.
With the critters safely in tubs of water, students examine and identify different species. When many different types of animals are present it's a sign that the river is in good health. On this day, they had a great catch totaling eight different species.
--Text and photos by Kenny Fletcher, CBF's Virginia Communications Coordinator