May 2, 2016
Elisabeth Gustafson, Alaska Geographic, Communications Manager
On Wednesday, May 4th and Thursday, May 5th, hundreds of Anchorage School District students will gather at Westchester Lagoon at 10:00am as a culmination of a hands-on science education series about the Chester Creek Watershed and salmon.
Five elementary schools located along Chester Creek have been learning about the Chester Creek Watershed, its source, path, and outlet to Cook Inlet and the Pacific Ocean, and collecting data about its water quality and suitability as habitat for salmon. This effort was launched to provide field trips that promote STEM education, deepen the students’ understanding of their watersheds, increase their knowledge about their local ecosystems, and develop their sense of place in Anchorage.
Students have measured a variety of indicators of the health of different reaches of Chester Creek near their schools for salmon, such as water temperature, dissolved oxygen content, pH, velocity of the water, and the types of macroinvertebrates that require clean water and provide food for salmon. On May 4th and 5th the students will gather at Westchester Lagoon, where Chester Creek meets the ocean, to collect additional data about the health of the watershed for salmon to complete their entire life cycle. The students will also participate in fun environmental education activities games at the lagoon.
This program is a partnership between the Anchorage School District STEM Department, Alaska Geographic, Alaska Sea Grant, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, 4-H/UAF Cooperative Extension Service, Get Outdoors Anchorage, and the Anchorage Park Foundation. The final gathering of students is a celebration of the Anchorage School District's Sea Week/Creek Week, an educational event celebrated by schools throughout Alaska.