Photo by Ross Blank-Libra
CATCH AND RELEASE—APES student senior Jena Mitchell counts specimens from the Big Sioux for analysis.

AP Environmental Science students visit Big Sioux River
Class members analyze health of local waterway

By Jada Cunningham

Advanced Placement Environmental Science (APES) students took a field trip to the Big Sioux River at three points around Sioux Falls on Oct. 12 to take samples of river water. The students will now analyze these samples to assess the health of the river during cold winter months and compare the data to that generated by past APES students. 

APES teacher Ross Blank-Libra said it is a great educational opportunity for the students. 

“We collected water quality data,” Blank-Libra said. “Information included temperature, PH, dissolved oxygen, phosphates, nitrates and turbidity. We also collected invertebrates, sampled fish populations and tested for coliform bacteria activity.” 

Blank-Libra said it was good to get out to the river before the cold set in. 

“We will revisit the data during the water quality unit later this winter,” he said. “Not everyone stayed dry!” 

Senior APES student Ben Trebilcock said he had a good time on the field trip. 

“It was fun to get to go to the Big Sioux and look at the different ecosystems,”  Trebilcock said. 

Senior Sydney Jaureque agreed. 

“My favorite part was going to the falls and watching everybody trying to catch the carp,”  Jaureque said. “The best part was that our group had seven people fall into the river, which was the most out of all the groups.”


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