Program Spotlight: Third and Sixth Grade Science at Lake Merritt
Sixth Grade students demonstrated water quality testing for salinity at the Grand Re-Opening of the Rotary Nature Center on the shores of Lake Merritt. The Mayor of the City of Oakland, the Audubon Society, the Lake Merritt Institute and many other community partners were also in attendance.
For most, Lake Merritt is the Jewel of Oakland. For St. Paul’s, the large tidal lagoon across the street is a center for stewardship and engagement with local, natural history. Teaching students to care for an ecosystem that serves as part of their campus instills a sense of pride and purpose, an invaluable approach to civic engagement.
Lake Merritt is home to the oldest designated (1870) wildlife refuge in the United States, an immersive learning space right here in our neighborhood. Third Grade students start with observation skills before heading out with an assigned bird to count from among the hundreds of different types of birds that populate Lake Merritt throughout the year. St. Paul’s student data is used to support numbers presented to the City of Oakland each year by the Lake Merritt Institute and the Audubon Society.
Sixth Grade students help identify existing pollutants that threaten animals living in and around Lake Merritt. For over 20 years, St. Paul’s Sixth Grade has conducted weekly water quality testing to determine salinity, oxygen levels, and turbidity. Each week, you’ll find groups of students on the lakeshore, lobbing long-handled nets from the shore to assist in trash removal. They learn about the lake’s natural history, the overall quality of the lake, what lives down there, and why it’s important to measure the quality of the lake.