On Friday, nearly 40 Bellarmine University students in environmental science classes visited two locations along Beargrass Creek, collecting water samples to test for contaminants.
The students are part of a larger group taking part in water quality testing this semester through classes taught by Carolyn Waters and Beth Bell in Bellarmine's School of Environmental Studies
"Having this kind of direct experience and participation in the scientific process is important for any student, regardless of major," said Waters, who noted that most of her students aren't environmental studies majors.
"The idea behind this isn't just about teaching 'hard science,'" she said. "It's about getting in the creek and feeling the water flow around your ankles and hearing the kingfishers chirp when they fly by. In this way, students develop emotional connections to their water resources that will help them to be active and informed decision makers about water issues in their communities."
The water samples were taken from two different branches of Beargrass Creek:
- Middle Fork, collected from the Big Rock area of Cherokee Park.
- South Fork, collected on Bellarmine's campus, behind Nolen C. Allen Hall.
Data collected by the students on biological, physical and chemical variables will help them compare habitat and water quality differences between the two forks.
The two forks merge east of downtown, near Lexington Road and Baxter Avenue, before flowing into the Ohio River. To learn more about water quality issues affecting Beargrass Creek, read the Metropolitan Sewer District's 2016 "State of the Streams
" report (PDF).