2013-07-31 / Walled Lake School District

Wixom Elementary Students Participate In Wetlands Mapping Project

BY CATHY RUSSEL
CONTRIBUTING WRITER


The 5th grade students at Wixom Elementary recently worked in conjunction with the Michigan Tech Research Institute to collect authentic wetland data. The 5th grade students at Wixom Elementary recently worked in conjunction with the Michigan Tech Research Institute to collect authentic wetland data. The 5th grade students at Wixom Elementary worked in conjunction with the Michigan Tech Research Institute (MTRI) in Ann Arbor to collect authentic wetland data in our local wetlands. MTRI has been working for several years on studying the wetlands around the Great Lakes Region and have been tracking and mapping invasive plant species such as the Phragmites Australis.

The students at Wixom Elementary learned about wetland plant species and remote sensing data in the classroom before participating in the handson data collection in the nearby Wixom Habitat in early June. The field trip was led by three Wixom Elementary teachers (Cathy Russel, David Blatt, and David Walczyk) and two MTRI employees (Anthony Russel and Michael Battaglia.) An additional team of classroom aides and parent volunteers also accompanied the group.


Students of Wixom Elementary learned about wetland plant series and remote sensing data before participating in the hands-on data collection at the Wixom Habitat. Students studied invasive plant series, such as the Phragmites Australis, as seen above. Students of Wixom Elementary learned about wetland plant series and remote sensing data before participating in the hands-on data collection at the Wixom Habitat. Students studied invasive plant series, such as the Phragmites Australis, as seen above. The students were able to compare what they saw from the air (remote sensing imagery) to what they saw on the ground, or as their teachers called it “frog’s-eye” and “bird’s-eye” views, to better understand what they were observing in the field. The students were instructed on how to take GPS points, find the average height of the vegetation, determine the vegetation density, and take photos of the area. The students then learned how to properly record data on specially designed field sheets and then uploaded their data to the MTRI database.

Overall the project was a success with the students being able to take six total points of various coverage types ranging from emergent wetlands to forests. This was an important first step into the end goal of creating “citizen scientists” to enhance the Great Lakes Wetland Mapping Project.

The teachers at Wixom Elementary would like to thank the Walled Lake Schools Foundation for Excellence for providing a grant that allowed the Wixom teachers to purchase GPS’s, cameras, rubber boots, and tape measures for the students to use in their data collection.

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