Three new organizations have joined forces to provide funding and field trip assistance for our newest curriculum component:  water quality testing.  The Rocky Mountain Section of the American Water Works Association (RMSAWWA) and the Rocky Mountain Water Environment Association (RMWEA) will cover the cost of water quality test kits for New Mexico field trip docents, and the cost of sending water quality test kits to all of our partner classes — some of whom live outside the U.S.

In addition, RiverXchange has partnered with the New Mexico chapter of Water for People, who will provide water resources professionals to help us conduct water quality testing on our New Mexico-based field trips.

Water quality testing is a critical new component of the RiverXchange curriculum to be carried out on the field trip to a local river or important watershed feature. Field trips in New Mexico will incorporate hands-on lessons about wetlands, aquatic macroinvertebrates and water quality, and students will use a field journal.  In some cases, a service learning project will be included (e.g., tree planting or agricultural activity).

Water quality testing data will be submitted to the World Water Monitoring Challenge program, who has generously covered the cost of water quality test kits for all our partner classes.

Water quality testing enables students to learn first hand how (and why) scientists determine the health of a river using pH, temperature, turbidity and dissolved oxygen.  Students will also do pre- and post- field trip activities.  The goal is for students to understand how land use affects water quality and what the water quality data tells us about the ecosystem. Students will write to their “high tech pen pals” about their experience at the river, why we collect this data and what it means.