The Friends of Lagrange County Parks was awarded $2,785 from the 2020 NIPSCO Environmental Action grants through NISource Charitable. The Friends of the LaGrange County Parks is a partner of the LaGrange County Community Foundation.
The announcement was made to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. The support from this grant will enable the Friends of LaGrange County Parks working with the LaGrange County Parks Department and their Interpretive Naturalist to offer a water quality testing initiative available to all public, private, and parochial schools, as well as homeschool groups.
The primary goal for this field trip opportunity is to get students outside, using their hands, sensing different ecosystems, and exercising their muscles by visiting Pine Knob Park, which has forest, lake, wetland, and prairie ecosystems all accessible by trail. This is the ideal location for students to learn about the importance of and the differences of these ecosystems.
Students can touch and smell and hear their surroundings. They can connect to these ecosystems personally.
The field trip will be divided into three rotations: wetland aquatic life study, water quality testing of Meteer Lake, and a prairie hike. Students will get to use dip nets and look for macroinvertebrates as a sign of the healthiness of our wetland, test Meteer Lake for turbidity, and dissolved oxygen to determine what can or cannot live in the water, and learn about restoration and conservation by visiting the prairies. They will learn about endangered species living in the special fen and test the water for pH to compare with Meteer Lake. This will be a hands-on, adventuresome field trip offered in the spring or fall school year, with the initial start-up costs being funded through this grant.
Students will gain an appreciation for the natural resources in LaGrange County, and gain a desire to care for them.Leslie Arnold, LaGrange County Naturalist
The grant enables the Friends to purchase water quality testing equipment, eight canoes, paddles, and life jackets for use by students, assisted by their teachers and the Park Naturalist when visiting Pine Knob Park.
Thank you also to Trading Post Outfitters of Mongo for assistance in purchasing the canoes.