Three girls, several fishing nets and a river…
In the spring holidays of 2017, three of our grade seven learners braved the elements and went looking for macroinvertebrates for the MINISASS challenge. They were three of the four learners who had represented Northdene Preparatory in the nationals, and this was their last challenge before leaving for High School.
In June of 2016, we had taken a group of learners to the Umbilo River by the Queensburgh Caravan Park. This year, we took a smaller group during the holidays, because of the difficulty of organising a school excursion with the department this late in the year.
In 2016, we had found several crabs and what we thought was a flatworm. This time, the river still had a strange smell, and there were less signs of life than the year before. We weren’t sure if that was just because the time of year was different, or if the river was more polluted than last year.
We saw many red worms, writhing in shallow still pools at the side of the river, odd little creatures with divided tails that might have been mayfly larvae, and not much else at first study.
There were two other children at the river; brothers from Richards Bay who were staying at the caravan park, and they had been at the river for several days. They said they had seen several crabs (who were obviously hiding by the time we got there!)
The boys had caught a water scorpion which we studied and then returned it to the river.
We did an oxygen content test and a pH test, and both seemed to be at acceptable levels.