10 members (Jesse, Austin, Mark, Grace, Liam, Gideon, Alex, Bradley, Tianze, Harrison) plus some parents and younger siblings showed up to work on the project and attend the field trip. Initially, we processed the small bit of sand in the lab that needed to be sifted and washed. Then we waited for Matt C. and Phil L. to arrive with sand donated from Graymont Quarry. During this time we had some team bonding activities- we played a hand clap game that kept us amused for quite a while! Once they arrived, we moved the sand to the second floor walkway underpass to keep it out of the elements. We threw gravel off the second floor outdoor walkway to allow the wind to remove the chaff from the gravel. We collected the clean gravel in bins below. We took the gravel inside and rinsed it. We put the bottom layer of gravel in the first filter.
One member of the Personnel Department came to update the roster and some personnel documents but was unable to do her work as our wireless device would not allow us access to the Internet. There was a lot of interference from the university site. One of the members tried making a 3G hotspot with his phone but we were not able to get the computer to cooperate. The leaders will be getting computer and special wireless accounts for the science building when the volunteer paperwork is processed by the university.
At 1pm, we had a tour of the Lake Champlain Research Institute. We learned about the work of the organization and saw their lab on the 4th floor of Beaumont Hall. We saw the many small invertebrates and animals they identify and classify. We looked at plankton under the microscope and say some fish in their tanks. We also saw the new water testing lab in the new science building. We learned that one piece of equipment (that determines all the elements present in water) costs millions of dollars and at most schools only grad students would be able to operate the equipment. But at Plattsburgh State even the undergrads get to use it. It costs $200 a day just for the argon need to operate the machine.
Our testing team (4 members + 1 member who will be operating a biosand filter at his home) learned to use the 3M testing kits for testing for the presence for E coli in water. They tested water from a fish tank. After putting the water sample on the sub-strait, they covered the sample with the filter screen. They learned you have to press lightly or you will cause the spots to appear in the sub-strait. The samples were collected and placed in the walk-in incubator in the biology department for 24 hours. Professor Mihuc emailed to let us know our results came in and there was NO E. coli in the water. (G.S.)