“It must have been a great day: You’re good and dirty,” said Carl Mucken, Queen of Peace principal, as the fourth-graders returned from a scientific inquiry adventure at Howard Creek.

Have you ever stumbled upon a giant cauliflower mushroom or a Western thatching ant colony, or wondered about nature beneath a Douglas fir only to discover millions of ladybugs? The fourth-grade students began their inquiry of Howard Creek, a place they will research multiple times this year.

Students visited an old growth forest. They took data on the variety of organisms that resided in the nooks and crannies of each space. Looking up, they took readings of the canopy cover. The second half of the day was spent taking measurements of the water level in the creek. Students measured pH, dissolved oxygen levels and the turbidity of the creek. Using skills they’d previously learned, the students then measured the canopy cover of the creek. The final exploration was to identify indicator species.

The fourth-graders can’t wait to see what winter brings to Howard Creek, said Mucken, and they will return soon to make new discoveries.