Camillus Middle School students test water in Nine Mile Creek

(From left to right) Lauren Reilly, James Soper and Colleen Augello.

(From left to right) Lauren Reilly, James Soper and Colleen Augello. Provided

— On May 18, Camillus Middle School science teacher Suzanne Potrikus brought her seventh and eighth grade classes to Nine Mile Creek to learn about the biological, chemical and physical conditions of the water.

Students were tasked to run tests to see the pH level, temperature, chlorine, phosphate, and the oxygen levels available to support life. The value of all these tests were compared, and it was determined that the creek at this particular location is in good to excellent condition to support life.

Eighth graders took data determining the depths at certain spots in the stream to calculate the area and then the stream velocity. Students found that at most locations, the stream’s discharge flow runs pretty swiftly on its way to Onondaga Lake.

All five classes were knee deep in the stream dredging the water for macroinvertebrates and collecting biological data from the stream. Derek Conant, from Cornell University, helped identify the species collected. Students sorted them into categories to determine population. Upon inspection, the students found a great diversity in the types of organisms inhabitating the stream, supporting that this body of water is a site in excellent condition to support life.

A photo gallery of the students' trip to the creek can be viewed here.

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