At the Lake: DDHS students study lake and shore ecology

Torran Oler and SanJuanita Perez learn about GPS and geocaching at Lake Lawn Resort. Click pic for more images in our gallery.

Thirty Delavan-Darien High School students and three teachers descended on the northern side of Delavan Lake on Monday, May 9, 2016, to learn and work.

The students, studying environmental science with teacher Cassey Boehm, arrived at Lake Lawn Resort’s Marina early in the morning for orientation with Maggie Zoellner, Kettle Moraine Land Trust executive director and Dan Lyng, Lake Lawn Resort’s director of property engineering and development.

Zoellner thanked the students for their interest in conservation and land management, and spoke about the importance of land stewardship and how people of all ages including students, play a role in ensuring our lands and waters remain healthy.

The students and teachers split into groups and rotated through three learning stations coordinated by the Kettle Moraine Land Trust, including:

  • Lake Sampling and Water Quality,
  • Shoreline Restoration, and,
  • Navigating using Global Positioning Systems (GPS).

Lake Lawn Resort provided two pontoon boats and captains to transport the students and teachers to various sampling points on Delavan Lake. Once there, students used scientific testing equipment to analyze water quality and clarity, and study plankton.

Plankton are tiny, sometimes microscopic plants and animals that are an important part of the aquatic food chain. One of the students commented, “I always knew clean water is important for lakes, but it was so interesting to actually be able to see how you could tell if the lake is clean.”

Once the students became experts conducting lake testing, the boat captains whisked them over to Delavan Community Park, where they helped restore the shoreline at the park.

Students learned to identify invasive plants which they then cut, pulled or dug out to make way for native wildflowers and grasses. The students also planted cardinal flowers, wild geraniums, sky-blue asters and other natives which will be a welcomed site for park visitors, and wildlife who rely on native plants as a food source.

Finally, the students were challenged to complete a geo-cache course set up just for them on the grounds of Lake Lawn Resort. Before they could complete the challenge, students learned how satellites transmit information and how GPS technology is used to advance science and make our daily lives easier. They also became proficient and operating hand held GPS devices. Many of the students were successful in finding all 13 hidden geo-treasures on the property.

“It is really special for many of my students to have an opportunity like this,” DDHS science teacher Cassey Boehm said. “Many of them just don’t get the chance to be involved or even see the wonderful natural resources we have around us. Seeing the lake and getting a chance to go out on the lake really helps them understand the importance of protecting it.”

Sincere thanks for supporting the successful Field Day go to Dan Lyng, Lake Lawn Resort; Sue Heffron, Delavan Lake Improvement Association; Gerry Petersen and Ellen Reddy Kettle Moraine Land Trust, Debbie Burkman and Chrissy Wen of UW-Extension; Jim DeLuca and Charlie Handle of Delavan Lake Sanitary District; Rachel Sabre of Wisconsin DNR and Ben Siebers of US Geological Survey.

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