Rate Your River Program
During this program, students rotate through a variety of hands-on activities and labs aboard the Queen City “Princess” riverboat in order to obtain a snap-shot of water quality in the Ohio River. Students assess water quality by performing water testing, and by studying aquatic organisms, including fish, plankton and macroinvertebrates.
Pre-Voyage Classroom Presentation
The Rate Your River curriculum includes a pre-voyage classroom visit titled “What’s the Point?” This interactive presentation uses an EnviroScape® model to teach students about watersheds, non-point pollution and storm water runoff. The presentation is free.
Water Sampling: Students will collect water samples from the top and bottom decks of the boat using VanDorne Samplers, plankton nets and buckets. Students will visually check the clarity, temperature and odor of the samples while discussing their observations at the sampling site.
Ohio River Scavenger Hunt: Students will compete in small teams to spot items on land or in the water. Items will include landmarks such as buildings, parks, and bridges; fish and macroinvertebrate habitat; birds and mammals; and point and non-point sources of pollution.
Water Testing: Students will use colorimetric tests to measure the “Big Three” parameters that are essential for aquatic life: temperature, dissolved oxygen and pH, and will learn how they relate to each other. They will also measure turbidity (water clarity). Middle school students may also measure nutrients and E. coli as time allows in the schedule.
Go Fish!: In this activity, students work with real specimens of fish collected from the sampling site to learn about fish morphology and adaptations that allow fish to thrive in the river environment. Students also learn why fish are used as indicators of water quality.
Planktomania: Students will conduct a plankton tow and study both phytoplankton (algae) and zooplankton from the river. They will also learn how plankton can be used as a water quality indicator.
Lunch: Students bring their own food and drink and will eat lunch on-board.
Counting Critters: This activity will take place on the dock after lunch, when the boat returns to Queen City Riverboats. Students will process and examine macroinvertebrates collected from our sample site. They will work together to identify the macroinvertebrates they find and complete a Stream Quality Index.