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Field Activities

Teachers may direct students to integrate the field activity information into their WaterQuest presentations or view the field activity segment as a separate assignment.

Web Resources

The following websites provide information that supplement and assist in conducting a riparian field assessment:

Equipment list for Field Activities

Observation and analysis of riparian areas, along with collecting aquatic insects, does not require elaborate equipment, but the following items will help:

  • rubber boots
  • a long handled dip net
  • a shallow white pan or deep foam meat tray
  • magnifying glass/ simple field microscope
  • assortment of small liquid proof vials and jars
  • forceps or tongs
  • field notebook and pencil
  • a small camera to record pictures of the site
  • thermometer
  • turkey baster
  • field guides for aquatic plants and invertebrates
  • Secchi Disk (see Activity 3 for construction suggestions)

Safety Guidelines

  • Always work with a partner and never put them in danger when gathering information.
  • Do not attempt to walk across streams that are swift and above the knee in depth. You can be swept away in an instant!
  • Do not walk on unstable banks; your footsteps could speed erosion.
  • Watch out for animals. You're in their territory.
  • Do not drink the water you're testing -- it may be unsafe.
  • Use public property such as municipal or provincial parks to conduct field activities. Otherwise, you'll need the permission of landowners to cross private land. Do not enter private land without permission.
  • Be aware when in the natural environment. You may encounter insects, poisonous plants and unstable terrain.
  • Plan accordingly - bring bug repellent, wear long sleeves and pants, sturdy shoes or boots and watch where you are walking.
  • Be careful of streamside vegetation - disturb it as little as possible.
  • Only record what you see, not what you have previously seen. For example, if you think fish are present but you can't see them, mark your sheet "no fish present."
  • Your personal safety is critical. If you feel uncomfortable with your surroundings for any reason, stop your assessment and leave.