January 2020: Living Labs Freshwater Camp
On Saturday 30th November 2019, 23 students from Cedar House High School arrived in Bainskloof for a weekend of freshwater fun and experiential science learning.
This was our second Living Labs camp, but the first time we stayed at the amazing McBains Backpackers – just a stone’s throw from the beautiful Witte River.
We spent the weekend studying the invertebrates living on the river rocks, setting fyke nets to sample the rivers fish populations and swimming and snorkelling in the cool clear water to our hearts content.
The evenings were spent enjoying incredible food prepared by the talented Katie Beard, followed by conservation talks or freshwater film screenings while munching on popcorn and sipping hot chocolate.
Aside from being a valuable learning experience, we also added to a growing dataset documenting changes in the river’s fish populations, and used the invertebrate community to estimate the health of the river using the citizen science tool MiniSASS.
All fish data were uploaded to the Freshwater Biodiversity Information System (FBIS), and invertebrate data to the MiniSASS website – a process we intend to continue with other camps moving forward into 2020!
The FRC’s Living Labs outdoor education programme works to create opportunities for youth nature connection and science learning, while at the same time providing data on changes in river ecosystem health that can be used to improve river management and conservation.
Visit our web page to find out more about the Living Labs programme, and visit our Partner Youth 4 Conservation’s page to find out about opportunities for upcoming freshwater camps and other river experiences.
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