Bringing science to life

Balmoral Community College students Olivia Rees (left), Tyler Hately (2nd from left) and Tanner Hol (right) participated in the simulation of salinity levels in the upper Glenelg River over summer with Glenelg Hopkins CMA Community Liaison Officer Felicity Forth (2nd from right).

“Science isn’t just about what you learn in the classroom, it’s about the world around you.”

That’s according to Glenelg Hopkins Community Liaison Officer Felicity Forth, who visited Balmoral Community College to show students a little of the science that applies to managing their own river.

Using a plastic tub full of water as a waterhole, some salt, a bailing cup, and a salinity meter, students ranging from year 4 to year 9 participated in a simulation showing how salinity increases along the Glenelg River over summer and decreases following summer, water releases.

Ms Forth said it was all part of a program to show students the science behind releasing water for the environment into the Glenelg River.

“Kids are naturally curious about their environment, but there aren’t always the resources to tailor-make a course around the environment they live in.”

“It’s fantastic being able to give them some insight into what plants and animals live in the Glenelg River and how we at the CMA manage environmental water to benefit the river.”

She said having the students monitor salinity levels as they increase in the simulated “waterhole” would show a little of what it’s like to be a scientist working for the CMA.

“Science doesn’t have to be abstract or removed from life.  Monitoring water quality to plan for environmental water releases is a real life local example of how science is used.”

Balmoral Science Coordinator Julie-Anne Lyons said it was great for their students to have this opportunity to learn more about their local environment.

“We loved it,” she said.

“It was just something different for the kids to get them more engaged.

“It was a wonderful opportunity for kids to learn about the effect of salinity and the role that scientists can play in their local environment.”

She said as most of the students come from rural backgrounds, they are always keen to learn about issues that affect their farm.

“Because most of our kids come off farms, its pertinent to their home life knowing about salinity, not just about how it effects native plants and animals, but also how it effects farm productivity.”

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