On Sunday September 12, ALLARM collaborated with Dickinson’s Center for Sustainability Education (CSE) to teach first-years about biological and chemical water testing at Laurel Lake. During this sustainability-themed orientation event, we worked with students to catch and identify different species of macroinvertebrates (like larval-stage insects, snails and beetles), which allowed them to experience water testing protocols we regularly teach volunteers at ALLARM.
My job was to explain why macros are important and how water quality can affect the species we might find. Everyone was very eager to get in the water, and with the use of a D-net, the students caught and sorted a wonderful variety of macroinvertebrates! Led by myself, Charlotte Kratovil-Lavelle ‘24, Michelle Hom ’24, and Phoebe Galione (Outreach Manager), students soon learned that we had collected some pollution sensitive species, which indicates Laurel Lake is likely a healthy waterbody. With extra time, we were also able to introduce chemical monitoring with pH and nitrate monitoring kits. I taught the first-years the process of pH testing using sample water from the lake and pH indicators while Charlotte walked the students through nitrate testing. Although the tests were fast, students engaged well, and we found that Laurel Lake’s pH and nitrate levels fell within normal ranges.
As my first event with ALLARM, I could not have asked for a more amazing introduction to our educational experience. While this is not necessarily the normal structure of our work with volunteers, my time on Sunday allowed me to see how everyone is able to engage with different aspects of education and event tasks. I enjoyed working with students immensely and I am excited to begin my work with volunteers!