Whales have been spending the last few weeks studying the ecosystem of wetlands. We explored wetland plants and the important role they play as water cleaners, filtering debris and chemicals as water makes its way to our rivers, lakes and oceans. We looked at the important role absorbent wetland soil plays in flood prevention.
To more fully understand the process of run-off, and the impact human actions have on the health of wetlands, Whales conducted a field study in the Cedar Classroom swale. Whales made predictions about where rain water might end up as it fell on the surrounding buildings and areas of higher elevation. They noticed that the Cedar Classroom swale was the lowest point they could see and guessed that rainwater would collect there, where it would feed the plants, absorb into the soil, and prevent their outdoor play area from flooding.
To cement the idea that what we pour down our drains matters, Whales watched as Mr. Mark poured water into the drain in the gazebo in the Cedar Classroom. Where would it go? Whales watched as the water flowed into our swale. They used their ninja listening skills to hear how the flow of water was dampened by the wetland plants in the swale.
In the Otter classroom, Whales listened as Ms. Stacey (an Otter mom, and Pacific plant biologist!) talked to us about introduced plants and the negative impact they can have on an ecosystem. Whales could see the importance of removing blackberries, thistles and other weeds during our wetland restoration trip!
As we studied wetland plants, Whales also explored wetlands as home for countless birds, mammals, fish, amphibians and insects. Through an extensive picture book study, Whales discovered that the plants that help clean the water and hold the soil, also become homes for the animals that live there. Using blocks, fabric, natural materials and their own bodies, Whales became wetland creatures, bedding down in fallen logs, nesting in tall grass, and burrowing under wetland soil. Whales are becoming wetland experts!