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Explore the Wash

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Cooler temperatures lead to better educational opportunities

For more than ten years, the Las Vegas Wash Project Coordination Team has partnered with Mabel Hoggard Math and Science Magnet School to introduce fifth graders to the Las Vegas Wash. While the educational outreach program is continuously evolving, it has been tremendously successful. More than 40 classes and 2,500 students have been brought to the Wash to act as “scientists for a day.”

In 2006, a stocked “reconnaissance backpack” was added to the program, providing the students with the actual tools scientists use in the field while conducting biological and water quality investigations. The backpacks come complete with a custom developed field notebook, binoculars, scissors, tape, a Global Positioning System (GPS) unit, pH strips and gloves. By

Students study insects at an educational presentation at the Las Vegas Wash

During the 2009 - 2010 school year, an additional day was added to the outreach and teachers raved over the increased knowledge obtained by their students. Students spend one full day at the Wash, gathering knowledge of the plants and animals that are native to the area and visiting the water treatment plant. Another day is spent on the Forever Earth houseboat through the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Public Lands Institute. This adventure gives students the opportunity to monitor lake levels and better understand water quality.

Students are expected to handle and use technical equipment such as electrical conductivity meters and participate in a nature walk where they learn to identify several species of plants and animal tracks along the way. In addition, simple herbarium collections of various plants and plant parts are made while on the nature walk.

Training is provided for the GPS equipment and students are expected to use GPS units to navigate to areas of interest and collect coordinate information for biological resources. During their time on the boat, students also are trained to identify several species of macroinvertebrates and learn why they are important to understanding water quality.

Visit the Explore the Wash page or call (702) 822-3390 for more information on educational outreach opportunities.

Las Vegas Wash Project Coordination Team • 100 City Parkway, Suite 700 • Las Vegas, NV 89106 • (702) 822-3300