‘Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.’ – Albert Einstein

Young biologists study ecology of Little Miami watershed


James Smanik

REEL IT IN. A group of students attempts to fish in the Little Miami River. Students received the opportunity to fish in the river, analyze the chemistry of the water, and collect various macroinvertebrates along the shore. “I wanted my students to experience biology by doing biology. Figuring out what ‘I want to do with my life’ is best answered by experiencing as many things as possible,” Smanik said.

  “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks,” said the naturalist John Muir.

  On August 20, students in Mr. Ron Hochstrasser’s Field Biology and Mr. James Smanik’s AP Biology classes learned more than they expected to during their field trip to the Little Miami River.

  The trip was hosted by the Ohio River Foundation.

  “I chose to take my AP Biology classes to the river for several reasons: first, AP Biology is an inquiry-based course, which is edu-speak for saying it is about doing science and developing the skills associated with higher level thinking.

  This field trip was about answering a question by doing experiments and forming evidence based conclusions. I fell in love with science by hiking in the Smokey Mountains, not from reading a textbook,” Smanik said.

  The students rotated through three stations where they learned to analyze different aspects of the ecosystem in order to assess the health of the Little Miami as well as the watershed – fish diversity, water chemistry, and macroinvertebrate biodiversity.

I fell in love with science by hiking in the Smokey Mountains, not from reading a textbook.”

— James Smanik, AP Biology teacher

  Each station required students to interact with nature, even wade in the river.

  “I had so much fun. My favorite part was when we went fishing in the river even though I slipped and got soaked. Our group caught the most fish!” said Rishav Dasgupta, 12, AP Biology student.

  Not only did the young biologists learn how to conduct an ecological assessment, but they also grasped the importance of nature and how to appreciate it.

  “It was fun just going out and seeing nature with our own eyes instead of in a textbook. There is so much that we can learn from walking in nature,” said Leslie Brown, 12, AP Biology student.

  As a group, the students agreed that the Little Miami was moderately healthy. They discussed the necessity of individual and community actions to conserve water and reduce pollution.