Marshall Students Researching Lester River

Students Take Samples as Part of River Watch

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Students from Marshall School took their class work to Lester River and Lake Superior, Tuesday.

Around 20 environmental science students spent their afternoon conducting reasearch at the mouth of the Lester River for Minnesota River Watch. 

The students collected insects and water samples that will be analyzed to determine water quality and river eco system health.

Courtney Kowalczak is the Director of the Fond Du Lac Tribal and Community College Environmental Institute and oversaw the students with Marshall teacher, Krysta Maas.

Kowalczak said the goal of the program was to get students out of the classroom and into nature, to help develop environmental stewardship and learning at the same time. 

“These young people will be our leaders of the future,” she said. “So the more that they know the more that they can make informed decisions when it comes to water management.”

Marshall Senior Jon Espe spent his time at the river collecting aquatic insects.

He said the opportunity to get out of the classroom was a great learning experience.

“I just thought it was great to get out of the classroom and come down to Lake Superior,” he said. “Coming down to the water, it’s just a hands on experience and it makes learning so much more easy.” 

The students tested the pH, dissolved oxygen, and nutrients in the water in addition to collecting insects and taking physical measurements.

Their data will be used by the State of Minnesota, according to Kowalczak.

While the data has not been fully analyzed, Kowalczak said the students found several insects that are sensitive to pollution and not normally found in urban streams.

That indicates the Lester River ecosystem is in good health with a good water quality. 

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