Advanced Placement (AP) environmental science classes visited Franklin Canyon Reservoir for their second field study on February 15, 16, and 22. The outdoor lab covered water pollution and its effects on organisms.
At the canyon, the students broke into groups and used laboratory instruments to measure the turbidity, oxygen saturation, and nitrate concentration of two bodies of water, allowing them to assess and compare their respective pollution levels. They also made their own water filters and took water samples to later analyze their bacteria percentages. Nadine Eisenkolb, an AP environmental science teacher, said she planned the trip to Franklin Canyon because of its proximity to the school and the variety of water types.
“It is very useful to have both a location that is both very close to [the Upper School] and a beautiful place in nature,” Eisenkolb said. “I like it too [Franklin Canyon] has different types of fresh water to study health.
Nathalie Paniagua ’23, who took part in the Feb. 15 trip, said the experience gave her a better understanding of water quality.
“Dividing into groups and collecting samples from different locations helped us learn more about water pollution and its effects on the water quality that other organisms depend on,” Paniagua said.
Alex Astalos ’23 said she appreciated the time to appreciate and think deeply about the environment.
“For me, the hike to the reservoir we took was a great way to get in touch with nature,” Astalos said. “It gave [students] a good few hours to stop and reflect on an important environmental issue.
Eisenkolb said she hopes the study will help students observe the effects of water contamination from a first-hand perspective.
“It’s important to take students outside and experience labs in nature, because that’s often what formal environmental science involves,” Eisenkolb said. “Taking water samples and showing them in tubes to students is less effective than actually seeing the sources where the water comes from.”