First, on Sept. 11, sixteen members of my A.P. biology and zoology classes participated in the New River Big Sweep. We cleaned over three miles of river from North Fulton Reeves low water bridge to the New River General Store (New River Outfitters) on Hwy 221. We collected an estimated 2,000 pounds of garbage ranging from car tires and golf balls to a water heater.
Some comments from the students included:
Jeff Martin from Zoology: “On a short stretch of river, we more than filled up six canoes of trash. It made me realize how much trash ends up in the river.”
Devin Sullins from AP Biology: “Dan Zeller found a tail gate off a vehicle and Cody Bare found a road sign!”
Stephanie Burwell from AP Biology said, “Where else would I be able to plunge into freezing cold water, laugh at my best friend falling on slippery rocks, listen to my biology teacher criticize my lack of effort cleaning the river while simultaneously helping the environment?”
Secondly, on Monday, Sept. 20 and Thursday, Sept. 23, my zoology class went seining to catch and identify local fish species for our fish unit. Seining is a technique used to catch fish in which students form a line up stream from the net and shoulder-to-shoulder “push” the fish down into the seine. Generally, it takes about 10-15 students to make a seining run.
On Monday, we traveled to the DOT on Buffalo Creek and caught and released approximately 50 fish, most of which were shiners and chubs. On Tuesday, we traveled to the lower reaches of Beaver Creek and seined and released over 150 fish most of which were stonerollers, white suckers, and bigmouth chubs. The largest fish we seined were Northern hog suckers which were about nine to ten inches in length. Students were grouped and asked to make measurements (length and mass) on fish and identify characteristic marks of varying species.
Lastly, on Wednesday, Sept. 22, fourteen of fifteen members of my AP biology class went to Broyhill Inn at ASU to listen to a Nobel Prize co-author present data on climate change. Over 500 college students, professors and local citizens gathered to hear Dr. David Easterling's presentation on climate change and global warming.
Mallary Clay said, “The global warming lecture made me concerned about my kids' and grandkid's life and what I could do to help.”
I'd like to thank Nancy from New River Outfitters for donating the canoes for our effort and Courtney Wait with The National Committee for the New River for setting up the clean up.