Where does the water go? This question has been asked over and over in many different situations in the past month. Middle School students have been catching aquatic insects, measuring water quality, exploring what happens to the rain when it flows over the land, studying aquatic ecosystems and creating data collections of their work. We have begun to get a greater understanding of the water that flows through the property.
In our reading of, Still Life with Brook Trout, John Gierach writes, “They say people travel in order to experience the enormity of the world, but there’s also something to be said for being mindful of the enormity of your own home region. In my case, that’s a few hundred square miles of the northern Colorado Rockies that I think I know intimately, but still couldn’t properly explore in a dozen life-times.”
Reflecting on this reading with the group, I told them, “Raise your hand if you feel like you know this place really well.” Most every student raised their hand. Then I asked, “Do we know everything about this place?”, Winnie answered, “You could never know it all because everyday is different. We don’t know it all”
This seemed like the perfect natural flow to our next step, traveling and exploring where our stream goes. As we know, “The map says that the stream flows into the Manasquan River” (Student, 13) So naturally, we got into the van and tried to find where the stream meets the river. Unfortunately, we found that the exact location at which the stream flows into the Manasquan was located in someone’s backyard and we did not have access to it. But, luckily, there was a Manasquan Greenway access point close by.
This activity doesn’t have to stop here. Each time we are around water of any kind, we should ask ourselves, where does the water go? Where does the water come from? The feeling of interconnectedness that investigating these questions creates can be a powerful thing for a young person. If the stream flows to the Manasquan, where does it go from there?
For a closer look at the Voyagers’ Outdoor Program’s investigation of the watershed, including data that students have collected, visit: