Watching water

As the summer holiday draws to a close,  Susie Glover, the Ponds Project education officer has written this update on one of the free sessions we are offering:

Watch Watch is one of the sessions we offer as part of the Ponds Project Secondary Education Programme. It focuses on the water quality of the Highgate chain of ponds. I like to describe it as the How, What and Why of water quality:
1. HOW do we define and measure water quality
2. WHAT affects water quality?
3. WHY does water quality matter?

Considering what a complex subject water quality can be, one of the biggest challenges we face is covering the answers to all three questions in a two hour session, particularly with all the distractions the Heath provides. A least once a session a very cute or boisterous dog tries to snatch away the students’ attention from me. As a result this is the one session that we have continued to perfect the more we deliver it, narrowing in on the really important information and fun activities.

What has remained constant through this process are the factors we consider when investigating water quality, including dissolved oxygen levels, turbidity (water clarity) and pH. Of course we always make sure there is time for my favourite activity, pond dipping. Armed with nets, trays and magnifying pots students explore one of the ponds, discovering weird and wonderful creatures, and investigating what they might tell us about the water quality. In Highgate No. One pond some of our recent finds include Perch fry, Lesser water boatmen, water fleas, midge larvae and, of course, a dog or two.

Some of the creatures you might find during a pond dip.

Some of the creatures you might find during a pond dip.

For further information, visit the Ponds Project Education Programme webpages.

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