This week, Conserve School science students learned how to monitor lake water levels and collected data that will be used as part of the Wisconsin DNR’s citizen science program. Citizen science is an increasingly popular method of data collection in many environmental fields. Recruiting ordinary people to collect data for scientific research expands the sampling area and increases the amount of data that can be obtained. Citizen science also builds a network of informed citizens who will care about and advocate for environmental issues.
According to Science Teacher Robert Eady, there are about 15,000 lakes and 84,000 miles of river in the state of Wisconsin. The DNR needs the assistance of citizen scientists to monitor all this water, and Conserve School is able and willing to help. To measure the water level of Little Donahue Lake, students used a benchmark, a staff gauge, and either a transit, line, or laser level. Mastery of these tools provided them with the information necessary to calculate the water level now, but also the ability to make accurate measurements in the future. After Thanksgiving break, but before ice-over, the students will continue to record water levels of Little Donahue and other campus lakes.
-Graduate Fellow Maria Kopecky