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Home » News » Leaf Pack Network Newsletter #4, Fall 2004

Leaf Pack Network Newsletter #4, Fall 2004

In this issue: Into the Classroom: Clearpool Education Center; Students in Kenya Do the Leaf Pack Experiment; Interview with a Scientist; Funny Leaf Pack Stories.

“Who said it can’t be fun to save the world?” — David Brower. 

Into the Classroom: Clearpool Education Center

Contributed by Kami Patrizio, Director of Education, Clearpool Environmental Center

In November 2003 over 100 students from Brooklyn’s Academy for Urban Planning (AUP) made a two-day visit to the Clearpool Education Center (CEC) in Carmel, New York. What began as a leaf identification class evolved into a leaf pack project.

“The students were so captivated by the connection between the quality of the water here in the Croton watershed and their drinking water in New York City that it just made sense to continue the discussion at their urban school site,” said CEC Director of Education, Kami Patrizio.

CEC staff brought the colonized leaf packs down to AUP after the students had created and placed them in the streams on the CEC campus. The experience was a huge hit with both the teachers and the students at the school.

“It was amazing to watch the students work with the leaf packs,” said CEC teacher Glenn Machtley, “they had no idea that those creatures lived in the water, or that they could have any relationship to the quality of the water that they were drinking in New York City.”

Teachers at the school extended the lesson, using it as a springboard for a series of integrated inquiries that involved calculating the biotic index and discussing the factors that may have influenced their findings.

Leaf Pack Network® News & Updates

  • Students in Kenya Do the Leaf Pack Experiment
  • Interview with a Scientist: Learn how Stroud Water Research Center Director Bern Sweeney has used leaf packs for research purposes.
  • Updated data sheets and procedures are available. If you are a Leaf Pack Network participant, just type in username and password as if you were to enter data and you will see the updates available there!

Funny Leaf Pack Stories

We asked for your funny stories and we got them — thanks for the laughs! Here are some of the stories …

“I almost died laughing when one of the boys in the room started screaming, ‘It’s a baby lobster! It’s a baby lobster!’ I walked over to his station to find that what he had discovered were a few young crayfish!” Glenn Machtley, CEC, Carmel, NY

When Marty Schoettler’s students at Haddon Heights High School in New Jersey walked into his honors science class one day, they were surprised to see macroinvertebrates in little trays on their desks. They thought this project was done. This especially caught one young lady’s attention as she proceeded to say, “Schoettler, I hate you!” As Marty says, “You should have seen her face!”

“My environmental science class placed some leaf packets last fall. My class is all girls so … one day I wore a skirt and I didn’t think it would be a problem to hike up my skirt a little to get into the stream. Of course I looked around first. Well, apparently someone did see — Don, the school custodian, conveyed the story to many others and really, really razzed me.” Jill Eichler, Andes Central School, NY

“My class at Ellenville was very excited to go outside and place our leaf packs in the stream behind our school. It was a lovely fall day and we were eager to catch lots of macroinvertebrates. We climbed down the bank and carefully tied each leaf pack to a rock, placing them at different locations in the stream. Shortly thereafter we got a snowstorm, then another. Add to that some rain, and the creek was so full that once we had an opportunity to retrieve our packs, we could not locate any of them. We searched and searched, with no luck. Then in June, Aaron Bennett came to do Stream Watch with another class. One child, who was a little clumsy, fell right in the creek. Imagine our expression when she stood up — for there, attached to her, was one of our leaf packs! I screamed so loud she must have thought she had a monster attached to her. That one leaf pack had enough creepy crawlies for six classes to examine. We were very happy.” Mary Brackman, Jefferson Academy, Ellenville, NY

The votes are in … congratulations to Mary Brackman! Because of her funny story she will receive a free set of our new Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Life Cycle & Habitat Flashcards.