SPARTA, NJ – Sparta Glen was busy with the activities of North Jersey Trout Unlimited and SCUMA-Wallkill River Watershed Management Group as they hosted 49 Pope John Environmental Science.  Christine Dunbar’s students were separated into five groups that moved between five different stations in the glen.

Nathanial Sajdak and Eric VanBenschoten of the Wallkill River Watershed Management Group, Willi Huber, Dean Blumetti, Danny Rodriguez and John Saltzman of Trout Unlimited guided student in the Riparian Buffer Tree Planting station near to the front parking lot.  The students made it into a friendly competition to see which group could get the most trees in the ground.

The EnviroScape and Non-point Source Pollution station was led by Amanda Hayes of AmeriCorps NJ Watershed Ambassador for the Wallkill River.  She explained the sources of pollution that potentially affected the watershed.  Students gathered around a table model of a watershed listening attentively as Hayes discussed household pollutants.

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The Macroinvertebrate Identification station got the students in the river.  Kristine Rogers of the Wallkill River Watershed Management Group began the discussion by showing them vials of recently caught aquatic life while sitting around the picnic table. Rogers explained that the various aquatic life is used to measure the health of the stream. The group then went into the stream to find the insects and fish for themselves.

John Nordstedt and Greg Luty from the Fred S Burroughs North Jersey Chapter of Trout Unlimited demonstrated Fly Tying.  Nordstedt tied Wooly Bugger that resemble bait fish and Grifith Snat that represents a dry fly midge “because they are with us most of the year in New Jersey.”

Luty was tying Spinner “similar to a mayfly at the end of its life cycle” and Pheasant Tail Nymph.

At the top of the second parking lot the student sat on the bank of the stream to listen to Brian Cowden of Trout Unlimited explain the project that took place last spring to restore the Glen Brook. 

“We usually take the students on two field trips a year,” said Dunbar.  “I think outdoor activities is where it’s at, especially for an environmental science class.”