Eventful Friday

Today was very exciting to say the least 🙂

My brother and I drove to the nature center and parked there just in time for 98.7 AMP Radio’s Rewind at 9 (radio contest on the Rat and Puff Show). My brother called in first, then I did–and guess what? I got through!

Rat or Puff (I don’t remember which one) picked up and asked me my name and if I had ever played before (I haven’t). They asked me my phone number and what city I lived in (Troy). They told me to turn off speaker, turn off my radio, and not to curse. I competed against Jenny from Lake Orion (“Battle of the Jenny/ies!”). I had to name a film (The Stepbrothers), a rapper (Afroman), and a song (I don’t remember which). I answered 1/3 correctly. I stayed on the line through two songs, and Jenny from Lake Orion had to do the same. She got Katy Perry (not fair!) and answered 2/3 correctly! She ended up winning the Jon Bellion (who?) tickets, but it was a thrill to get through to the radio station and have my voice be broadcast on live radio–although it was probably too early in the morning for anyone I know to have been listening 🙂


^WordPress doesn’t let me upload videos for free 🙂

Miranda drove me out to Site #4 in her Toro (bull in Spanish!), which was very thoughtful of her, and I took two hours to finish all of the tests. I fished an arrow, a broken glass bottle, a chips bag, another plastic bag, and a yellow float out of the water #downwithpollution #savetheturtles. My phone got a bit wet and became stuck on headphones mode, so I spent a while back at my desk trying to clean the headphones jack. I ended up fixing it by sucking air out of it–the more you know!

I did the dissolved oxygen test at my desk, finished the fecal coliform test from Wednesday, and answered some emails. I talked with Christina about next week, and I headed out at 3. My brother came half an hour late. I had an obligation at 3:45 but arrived to it at 4:10. (I hope you’re sorry, Richard. Just kidding!) My brother and I tried new food to celebrate the end of the week 🙂 Dad’s home, and the 4th of July is fast approaching. If you’re reading this, have a great weekend and holiday!



Dissolved Oxygen: 6.4 mg/L

pH: 8.0

Change in Temperature: 1 degree Celsius

Phosphates: 0.0533 mg/L PO4-P

Nitrates: 0

Turbidity: 10 JTU

Biochemical Oxygen Demand: *Update: 6.4 – 5.4 mg/L

Fecal Coliform: *Update: 50 colonies per 100mL of river water



Dark Clouds

Miranda and Danielle warned me that it was going to rain at 11AM today, so I rushed out to do all of my tests at Site #3. As usual, I brought my purple container, Kroger bag, and waders. I ended up not wearing waders (!) because I found that by laying on my stomach on the bridge, I could reach my arm far enough down to collect water from the “middle of the middle” of the river. Two women passed by and asked about what I was doing, and I told them about my project and about how the turbidity at this site was greater than it was at the past two sites. Then Danielle passed by with the summer camp kids, and I told a girl (one I talked to yesterday and who held the door for me this morning) about the higher turbidity. I don’t know if she understood what I was talking about, but I said there were more particles in the water–I think that was easier to understand and a better way of explaining it!

Here are my results from today:

Dissolved Oxygen: 6.2 mg/L (unadjusted) and 67% saturation

Biochemical Oxygen Demand: 7/4/17 *Update: 6.2 mg/L – 4.2 mg/L = 2.0 mg/L

Turbidity: 10 JTU *this was before it even rained!

pH: 8

Nitrates: 0

Change in temperature: 0

Phosphates: I will do this at home. *Update: 0.066 mg/L PO4-P

Fecal Coliform: I will do this at home. *Update: 200 colonies per 100mL of river water


Site #3 Fecal Coliform

Notes for tomorrow (writing this out helps me remember!): Remember to bring coliscan easygel from freezer and check fecal coliform test from Wednesday.

I’m looking at the results of Tuesday’s fecal coliform test–I had a question about them so I emailed Erin 🙂

*Update: Here are the results:

There are 3 E. coli colonies! Multiply this by 50, and I get 150 E. coli colonies per 100mL of river water. This corresponds to a Q-value of 40, which isn’t very high. Now I can recalculate the Overall Water Quality at Site #1 from Tuesday:

(Missing two tests) 75.2073170732 77.2804878 = Still “Good”! but lower than before


Quick Mud?

My brother and I drove to the hospital this morning to get the last HPV vaccine in a 3-dose series. I think they would have preferred my younger and taller brother to have been the adult between the two of us because they called my dad for verbal approval. Apparently an older adult sister isn’t enough.

I arrived at the nature center with the purple container/Kroger bag/waders, and I performed all of the tests at Site #2. Nancy introduced me to her summer camp kids and took a picture of me 🙂 A woman passed by with her daughter; she told me this was her first time at the nature center and she has a Ph.D. in Chemistry! SNC-goers are so interesting!

Here are the results:

Dissolved Oxygen – 6.6 mg/L (unadjusted) and 73% saturation

Biochemical Oxygen Demand – I will finish this on 7/3/17. *Update: 6.6 mg/L – 5.0 mg/L = 1.6 mg/L

pH – 8.0

Nitrates – 0

Turbidity – 5.0 JTU

Fecal Coliform – I will finish this around 1:20PM on 6/30/17. *Update: 150 colonies per 100 mL of river water

Change in Temperature – 0

Phosphates – I finished this at home – 0.0133 mg/L.

I calculated the Overall Water Quality (minus four tests) as 83.96428571 86.69642857–“Good”!

I recalculated the Overall Water Quality (minus three tests) as 86.2424242 88.56060605—“Good”!

I went ahead and calculated stream discharge at Site #3. This is where I accidentally stepped into the mud wearing my regular shoe instead of waders–it felt like quicksand (quick mud?) because it pulled my leg down. It made a sucking noise when I recovered my limb. I wasn’t in danger or anything but it surprised me how strong mud can be.

2.438m (average width) x 0.06925 m (average depth) x 0.5209 m/s (average velocity) x 0.9 (roughness constant) = 0.0791499 m^3/s (discharge!)

I then calculated stream discharge back at Site #2:

2.743m (average width) x 0.127 m (average depth) x 0.1167816092 m/s (average velocity) x 0.9 (roughness constant) = 0.0366139423 m^3/s (discharge!)

Note to self for tomorrow: bring aluminum foil and a tape measure, and finish Tuesday’s fecal coliform test.


Paper Towel Travesty

(paragraph form) (simplified procedures)

I arrived at the nature center at 9AM. My brother and I carried all of the equipment to my desk, and I met Ed Morykwas outside–he was photographing the native species in the garden. I walked with him back to my desk. I wore my backpack and carried the purple container and waders, while he carried the Kroger bag, and together we walked to Site #1 and set down all of the equipment.

I took one of the thermometers and measured the water temperature: 18 degrees Celsius. I then took one of the water sampling bottles and filled it with water for the dissolved oxygen test. There was an air bubble in the bottle, so I had to redo it. It’s been a while since I’ve done any of the tests, so I was rusty. Ed Morykwas took pictures of me and then he left.

It was around 9:50AM by then. A woman passed by and then a man. The man said that when his son was younger than me, in 1987, his son tested the effects of road salt on the Rouge River, which I thought was very interesting! Three other women passed by.

I recorded physical observations. I then went through the tests methodically. I probably took longer on them than I could have because I was being careful and gaining muscle memory. (Tangent: I stood up during one of the tests because I had been squatting and my legs were killing me–and, lo and behold, a deer was staring straight at me from across the bridge!) Oh, and I didn’t have paper towels (hence the title of this blog post!), so I had to use gloves to catch the overflow for the dissolved oxygen test.

Dissolved Oxygen – I followed the instructions until the water sample was “fixed.” I completed the test at my desk – 6.8 mg/L (unadjusted) and 73% saturation.

Biochemical Oxygen Demand – I collected water and covered the bottle with aluminum foil – I will finish this test on 7/2/17. *Update: 6.8 mg/L – 5.0 mg/L = 1.8 mg/L

pH – I measured the pH as 8.0.

Nitrates – I measured nitrates as 0.

Phosphates – I finished this test at home. Color wheel value 2 / 50 = 0.04 / 3 = 0.013 mg/L PO4-P. Note: there could very well have been 0 mg/L phosphates in the river water as there’s an element of human error here.

Turbidity – I calculated the turbidity as 5 JTU.

Change in Temperature – This was 2 degrees Celsius.

Fecal Coliform – I plated the gel and it solidified. I will finish this test around 1PM on 6/29/17. *Update: 150 colonies per 100 mL of river water

Total Solids – I will not be carrying out this test.

I have all of my data recorded in Google Slides. I’m missing four tests right now, but I calculated Q-values and Water Quality Indices for the other five tests. I used the adjustment formula to calculate Overall Water Quality even though this can only be done when one to three tests are missing, and my Adjusted Water Quality Index was 81.0178571429 84.05357143.

This falls in the “Good” range of 71-90. Remember, four tests are missing. But this is a nice, concrete start!

I should have measured the “length of section to be surveyed.”

I calculated stream discharge (using an apple instead of an orange!):

1.83m (average width) x 0.0445 m (average depth) x 0.68842105 m/s (average velocity) x 0.9 (roughness constant) = 0.05045541 m^3/s (discharge!)

I calculated a Q-value and Water Quality Index for the phosphate test. I used the adjustment formula to calculate Overall Water Quality again because only three tests are missing now. My Adjusted Water Quality Index was 83.7424242 86.31818182.

This again falls in the “Good” range of 71-90!




I finally have all the equipment! Here’s the list:

  • (1) D-net
  • (1) pair of waders
  • (2) boxes of gloves
  • (1) 5 gallon container with (6) sorting trays, (1) macroinvertebrate key, (1) identification pictures, (1) ice cube tray, (1) wading belt, (1) sandwich bag with 2 plastic spoons, 1 5ML|1TSP medicine dropper, and 2 tweezers
  • (1) 40 Qt.|37.9L purple container with:
  • (1) distilled water wash bottle and (1) gallon of distilled water
  • (1) Oster table stove
  • (1) sandwich bag with 9 plastic droppers
  • (4) LaMotte water sampling bottles
  • (1) Kroger bag with (1) POISON jug, (1) pair of goggles, (1) Fecal Coliform Water Monitoring Kit, and (1) Coliscan Easygel (freezer)
  • (1) LaMotte Nitrate Nitrogen Tablet Kit, 0-15 ppm
  • (1) LaMotte Precision pH 3.0-10.5
  • (1) Hach Total Phosphate Test Kit Ortho-, Meta-, & Organic (PO4)
  • (1) LaMotte Turbidity Column 0-200 JTU
  • (1) LaMotte Dissolved Oxygen
  • (2) Thermco Total Immersion – water thermometers


Calm Before the Storm

Warning: short/undetailed post 🙂

9AM – At the nature center!


10AM – Emailing inquirer.

I will start testing on June 27. They could come any day June 27-30 and July 4-7 from 9am to 5pm.
I might be there earlier or later depending on how long the tests take.
I will be at one of the four bridges (starting downstream on the Sugar Maple Loop) or at the pond, and my number is _ if they want to know where I am.

11AM – Eating lunch.

12PM – Greeting Neha, the new employee!

1PM – Reflecting.

2PM – Helping. (Summer camp starts next week–it’s the calm before the storm.)

I die cut, laminated, hole punched, and cut yarn strings for 16 turtles and 10 frogs:


3PM – Brother driving here.


Thu Jun 22

9AM – I’m at the nature center! I’ll be able to start testing next week because I’m picking up the equipment Monday morning. I’ll try once a day to make up for lost time.

11AM – Miranda caught a spider #spiderwoman.

Debbie ID’ed it as a Brownish-Gray Fishing Spider (Nursery Web Spider):


I messaged Help For Flint on Facebook yesterday:

Hi, how can I get involved in helping Flint? What is the update on the water crisis?

Their response was really helpful!

Hi Jennie. Below is a link for you to explore volunteer opportunities in Flint. Also, Below is a link to a press release from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality with the latest update on Flint’s water quality. Thank you for your support! Link to volunteer: http://www.geneseeserves.org/ Link for the latest press release: http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,4561,7-135-3308_3323-410899–,00.html

I read the press release:

These latest testing results from April 2017 show 90 percent of Tier I samples at or below 6 PPB and 94.9 percent of the samples at or below 15 PPB. The federal standard calls for at least 90 percent to be at or below 15 PPB.

So what about the 5.1% that’s still above 15 PPB?? I read this on flintwaterstudy.org:

But a few years ago EPA Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water asserted that if a city met the Action Level of 15 ppb, that meant the city’s water was “safe” by law.  We argued against that, but the EPA is an authority and what they say carries some weight. By their definition, which we do not support but which is used by many cities around the country, Flint’s water is currently “safe” to drink without a filter.


1PM – Walking the trails AKA refamiliarizing myself with the sites while taking pictures:

3PM – All is calm, all is bright. I thought of this line from Silent Night for some reason.