First hour ecology students explore real world learning

eco tours

The Olde Broom Factory Resturant, water recreation plants and even water testing at Dry Run Creek are just a few of the places that John Black’s first hour ecology class have explored since the beginning of the year as they examine and contribute to making the Cedar Valley a cleaner place to live.

“I think in this day and age of computers all the electronic gadgets, unfortunately, young people have removed themselves from the environment. They’re not in the outdoors as much, and so any way I can get my students outdoors and see the real things out there is much better than not to experience it. I’m a little concerned about how we’ve become a computerize society, an indoor society,” Black said.

On Sept. 3, Black’s students withstood the cold windy morning to listen to Bob Seymour, a city economic development manager, as he talked about the future of the Olde Broom Factory  location.

Later, students participated in their own “city council” debate about the fate of the location.

“I think it’s critical when you’re growing up to understand what’s beyond Black Hawk County. We’re pretty sheltered where we’re at. Sometimes our thinking is skewed because we’re thinking in the context of our little utopia here, and there’s a lot more out there, both good and bad, that we’re sometimes oblivious to as a community,” Principal Richard Powers said.

Students were met with gut wrenching stenches at the water reclamation plant on Sept. 25. Students learned the process for how our waste is cleaned from drinking water. Students also learned how clean our drinking water really is after the long cleaning process.

“They’re (field trips) really helpful and visual, and they help us. They help students learn how to save the planet and conserve water as well as stopping pollution,” junior Robert Bremner said.

On Oct. 5, students received a breath of fresh air at Dry Run Creek. They tested how well the creek is doing by measuring certain chemicals within the water. They found that the water is very clean for the area.

“To read about a stream and look at pictures of a stream is a lot different than going out and actually getting in the stream and measuring some of the stream’s characteristics. The experience far outweighs the text,” Black said.

In upcoming days, students can look forward to CFU coal plant, transfer station for recycling, Cedar Falls well and continued testing of Dry Run Creek.

“I think they’re interesting, and I learn more about our ecosystem every day,” senior Ashley Stow said.

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