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Discovering the Ausable: An Aquatic Stewardship Program

AsRA and the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) partnered to offer a five-day program for teenagers ages 14-17. They learned the basics of aquatic ecology and stewardship while hiking, paddling, and camping - in some cases for the first time.

Day one started with a hike up Mount Jo and a primer on "Leave-No-Trace" outdoor ethics. After learning the concept of a watershed, participants delineated one on a topographic map. On day two, participants learned basic paddling skills and limnological sampling techniques on Heart Lake. That afternoon, they headed to the Lake Placid boat launch to learn about Aquatic Invasive Species and the Adirondack Watershed Institute's Watershed Steward Program. After a paddling trip and limnological sampling on Mirror Lake and a trip to the Intervale Lowlands Preserve, participants graphed vertical profiles for temperature, dissolved oxygen, and specific conductance for both Heart and Mirror Lakes. Day three started out with a discussion on the differences in water quality observed between these two lakes. Then, on the West Branch of the Ausable River, participants learned about aquatic macroinvertebrates and how they can be used as indicators of water quality. The highlight of day three was a paddling trip on Lake Everest and a tour of the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge, a wildlife rehabilitation and education facility in Wilmington. On day four, the group headed to the mouth of the Ausable River and paddled on Lake Champlain. They toured Ausable Chasm a natural classroom for geology. The final day provided the students an opportunity to reflect on ways they might apply what they had seen and learned to their home communities. 

To take a visual tour of this program check out the photo gallery below.

This program was made possible thanks to financial support from ADK, AsRA, and the NYS Department of State through Title 11 of the Environmental Protection Fund.

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