Written and Submitted By: Ali Dahmes, West Central YES! Coordinator
Water really is everywhere, especially in the land of 11,842 lakes. Students from Forest Lake, Sleep Eye Public, Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s, Mankato West, Melrose, Royalton, and Yellow Medicine East Schools participated in a 55 minute session about water. More specifically, they heard from two different water specialist. Jon Morales from Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District introduced students to what a best management project (BMP) is and who could help them carry out such projects in their communities. He then explained and showed students BMPs that the watershed district has helped with in the past few years including a renovation of a boat launch/lake access and the implementation of tree trenches (one of which a YES! team did at their school). Then students explored the St. Johns campus and the BMPs that they have finished at the school, including a “rain garden” that helps with runoff by their beach.
The other half of the session was led by Charlene Brooks with Kandiyohi County Aquatic Invasive Species Task Force. Charlene spoke about shoreline health, invasive species that can overtake a shoreline, and projects that students could complete that would help with this effort (like a shoreline buffer). She played multiple games with students, one that showed what wave action and ice heaves do to shorelines, and some that taught how invasive species take over a landscape and what they actually do to disrupt the natural environment. Luckily it was a beautiful day to spend some time down by the beautiful uninhabited lake learning about what to do to help take care of the water this planet has on it. After all, we can’t make more!