The discovery was like finding a beautiful palace and trying to figure out why the royal family had moved out.
Although the stream that runs through the wetlands behind South Carroll High School is designated a trout stream, students in the science research class found notrout living in it, said junior Leigh Anne Reger of Finksburg.
She and others in teacher Robert Foor-Hogue's class are trying tofigure out what might be keeping out the trout. Is there not enough dissolved oxygen? Perhaps an imbalance of nitrates, phosphates, acid or carbon dioxide?
Reger has been running tests for these kinds ofthings, and the class hopes to walk the banks of the stream from theschool to Piney Run Park.
"Trout are very picky about where they live," Reger said. That's why a trout stream is the highest classification given by the state and federal environmental agencies.
"We're going to try to introduce some rainbow trout, because they can withstand different temperature ranges," she said. "If they won't live there, it's not a good stream."
Unfortunately, the stream is not theonly thing that runs through the wetlands. The school's cross country team also does. Reger's class has built a bridge to keep the athletes from trudging through the stream and disturbing the aquatic life, but the wooden structure needs to be extended since the stream is starting to cut around it.
Reger's class project has nothing to do with Earth Day -- April 22 -- but everything to do with the Earth. People all over the world raise environmental awareness around Earth Day,but several Carroll students are trying to make every day an Earth Day, said Bradley Yohe, supervisor of science.
"It's not just tied into Earth Day," Yohe said. "It's woven all through the curriculum ingrades three through 12."
For example, fifth-graders at Carrolltowne Elementary School have been studying ecology and used what they learned to teach second- through fourth-graders last week.
All schools do some kind of recycling. At North Carroll Middle School, students are quick to correct any teacher who absent-mindedly throws white paper into a trash can instead of a recycling box, said teacher CraigGiles.
On the rare occasions when North Carroll Middle's cafeteria uses plastic foam containers, the students collect them, wash them and reuse them in art classes, Giles said.
On April 29, Reger and students from all five high schools will participate in an "Envirothon" at Hashawha Environmental Appreciation Center. The event is for students who have taken an elective course on the environment. They will compete by solving environmental problems set up by state and localsoil, water and forestry agencies.
Those who do well here can compete in the state and national competition. The national event will be held in Maryland later this year.