Today’s activities were definitely my favorite so far! We spent almost the entire day out in the field conducting labs and touring the area.
During the Key Issues Institute, we’ve been learning how to implement a project-based learning unit in our classrooms, and so throughout the PD we’ve taken the “student” role and actually doing the environmental issue-based project ourselves. The gist of this Issues Unit is that people in a particular city are all getting sick, and there’s a lot of speculation by local residents as to the cause: contaminated chicken at a local restaurant, bacteria in the water supply, air pollution from tourists, the old abandoned mine, or my personal favorite, aliens. lol
Today, we addressed the water quality theory by visiting a local river and taking samples of the water’s depth, velocity, pH, oxygen levels, zinc levels, and biological makeup. We looked at all of these factors back in our “classroom” to determine if the river was healthy, or if it was the cause of the so-called “Silver City Sickness”.
Once we finished up at the creek, we headed to a possible source of water contamination, the local Country Boy Mine. Of course, in reality, this is really a tourist spot nowadays, but how cool to think that this was once a hot spot when miners were digging for gold! We took a tour while we were there and were led 1,100 feet into the old mine! It was chilly and wet, but it was amazing to think of what it was like for those men chipping away at rock by candlelight.
Ever wondered what panning for gold was like? Wonder no more! That was part of our Country Boy Mine experience as well! Definitely not as exciting as I’d hoped it would be and boy, does it require patience!
Tomorrow morning will bring the most anticipated event of this whole trip: a sunrise hike up to the Continental Divide! I’ve got all my winter layers ready to go, so now it’s time to get some rest. Check back tomorrow for Day 4 of my Key Issues Institute adventure!!!