Kee sixth graders enjoy Mississippi River education

Mrs. Cota and students get down and dirty as they search the mud and vegetation for signs of life and small invertebrates in the swamp water at the south end of the Sports Complex. Submitted photo.

With the usual anticipation and excitement of a day outside and beyond the building, Lansing Kee sixth graders embraced gentle winds and cloudy skies to study and learn about river history, water testing, fishing, macro-invertebrates, and GPS navigation. The program developed by Eastern Allamakee teachers Deb Masek, Lisa Welsh and Sue Herman is in it’s tenth year and has introduced hundreds of Eastern Allamakee Community Schools (EACS) students to the history of the Lansing area and the Mississippi River. Credit is extended to these educators for their creativity and commitment to educating area youth, as well as to the EACS administration and  Board of Directors for their ongoing support of such an unusual adventure beyond the classroom.
Thirty-three students were divided into six groups with a parent chaperone with each group. Groups followed a circuit of being on the river in boats to learn about birds, wildlife, river relics and the Mississippi River and do some water testing with  kits to determine the water quality of the river. After the first two stops, students went to the River History Museum, followed by an hour of fishing along the Bob Henkel waterfront. The final study area was near the shelter at the Sports Complex where students collected water samples and searched for critters in the moss and mud and were led on a GPS activity by Ross Geerdes, naturalist from the Allamakee County Conservation Board.  
Volunteer presenters for the day included Tom Limbach and Don Thran, John and Phyllis Verdon, Karen Galema, Ross Geerdes, Kevin and Ann Quillin, and Mrs. Herman and Mrs. Cota from EACS.  This was the first time some of the Kee students had been on the Mississippi River, and it proved to be a very interesting and worthwhile experience for everyone.

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