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Youth Volunteers Check the Water Quality in Audubon Park

November 1, 2013 | Tag(s): AquaKids, Junior Entomologist, Youth volunteers
By: Gillian, Volunteer Manager, Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
Youth volunteers testing the water in Audubon Park

Youth volunteers from the AquaKids, Jr. Entomologist and Jr. Keeper programs continue to test the water quality in a lagoon in Audubon Park.  They’ve compiled their results from each day of testing in this blog to share with you.  Check back in January for more water quality results from our youth volunteers!

Saturday, October 26- Lily, Kyle, Austin, Victoria, Teresa, and Ruby

Today, we visited Audubon Park and took sample of the water in one of the lagoons in the park. We tested pH balance, the measure of acidity; turbidity, the clarity of the water;  the temperature of both the water and the air; DO, also known as dissolved oxygen, or the amount of oxygen in the water; biotic factors, the living things in the water and surrounding area; and the weather.

To measure pH, we used pH probes. The pH scale ranges from 0, very acidic, to 14, very basic. An example of an acid is lemon juice, and an example of a base is soap. The measure of pH in the lagoon was 8.2, slightly basic.

The next measure we took was turbidity. You use a long test tube with a black and white disc at the bottom called a turbidity tube. You slowly let water out of the tube until you can distinctly tell the difference between the black and white. The turbidity was high, meaning that the water was relatively clear, though the water was more shallow than the last time it was measured.

To accurately measure the temperature of the water, you first have to take the temperature of the surrounding air first. The temperature of the air around the lagoon was 26°C or 78°F. The temperature of the water was 22°C or 70°F.

Measuring dissolved oxygen is important because oxygen is necessary to all life. If there isn’t enough dissolved oxygen in the water, fewer things would be able to survive in the lagoon. The DO scale is from 1 to 12,  and our measurements were in the healthy range of 7.0  to 7.5.

We also made observations of the biotic, or living, factors and the weather. Some organisms we observed were Black Crowned Night Herons, dragonflies, ducks, squirrels, crows, flies, Cuban Anole lizards, Green Anole lizards, Duck Weed, and Red Eared Slider Turtles. We noticed that the Red Eared Sliders would come to humans, expecting food. We also noticed that the Duck Weed covered about one sixth of the lagoon, which was less than last time. The weather was another observation we made. It was sunny with few clouds and a cool breeze.

Overall we made many observations about the condition of the water. We can conclude that the water at this time is capable of sustaining aquatic life.

Sunday, October 27- Sauji and Jericho

Today at the lagoon we tested turbidity.  Turbidity is the clarity of the water.  We thought the water was going to be clear.  When we tested the turbidity we got a reading of 46 which means it was clear.  After we tested the turbidity we observed our surrounding.  The lagoon had lots of living things in the water like ducks, ibis, and some turtles.  They got in the way a little bit while we were doing tests.  There was a lot less duckweed in the water than last time.  Today it was rather cool with the sky being rather clear.  We read the air temperature and it was 70°F and the water temperature was 72°F.  We also measured DO which is dissolved oxygen.  The reading was rather high being 6.  Dissolved oxygen is the basis for all water animals respiratory needs.  Finally we measured pH.  pH is how acidic or basic the water is.  The water had a pH reading of 8.9 which is a bit over average pH.  If the water is too acidic fish and other animals would not be able to live in the water.  The lagoon was habitable for animals living there.  We will continue to test the water to see if it changes. 

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