Learning outdoors

Scott City seventh-graders and high school seniors are completing a yearlong watershed-ecology study created by Scott City Middle School teachers Leanne Grant and Vicki Wachter. The two say they hope the project will improve scores on the annual Missouri Assessment Program tests.

Grant's English students will write essays about their experience. Wachter's math students will use the data to calculate the stream's health.

The teachers will each take one class to Ramsey Creek every month this school year to test the water's temperature, oxygen level, plant and animal inhabitants and surrounding environment. The creek runs through Scott City before emptying into the nearby Diversion Channel. The creek serves as the city's major watershed, draining all surface water.

Parts of the creek look dirty. Unfortunately, some residents have decided to use it for a dumping ground. However, the students found caddisfly larvae and mayfly nymphs in the water, which means it is healthy enough to support life.

It is the kind of learning those students won't forget, and they'll have two creative Scott City teachers to thank for it.