We had a great day with the Blue Ridge Environmental Governor’s School students who recently visited the White House Farm. We partnered with the Shenandoah Valley Soil and Water Conservation District who did an excellent job of discussing the small organisms who live under and among the rocks and sediment in the Shenandoah River (collectively termed benthic macroinvertebrates) and what their presence indicates for water quality. Aquatic macroinvertebrates consist of beetles, mayflies, stoneflies, caddisflies, snails, leeches, dragonflies, aquatic worms and numerous other creatures that live on, in or near the bottom of the river.
The touch tank allows the creatures to be collected and placed in a safe environment where District staff talked about them and allowed students to examine them under microscopes. The hardy group of students trekked to the river and walked along the river trail, discussing watershed dynamics, native and non-native plants and history.
The Blue Ridge Environmental Governor’s School (BREGS) for gifted students provides two weeks of challenging and stimulating learning experiences in the area of field biology and ecology planned and delivered by highly qualified instructors. Students from grades 5-8 participate from Page, Shenandoah, Warren, Frederick and Clarke counties and the City of Winchester. The students focus on various interdisciplinary subjects during the school including biosphere, globalsphere, sociosphere, technosphere and geosphere with a community service project and canoe trip thrown in.