The recent gold mine spill offers a learning opportunity for students studying the after effects in the Animas River.
Many local schools have included the after effects of the Gold King Mine spill into their studies. Whether the subject matter is biology, chemistry, math, social studies, or language arts, the transformation of the Animas River and surrounding creeks have provided ample opportunities for study.
Students have traveled up to Silverton, walked along the banks of the river in various locations, studying biodiversity, calculating linear equations, and writing about their observations.
“Every year, they’ve done the invertebrate study and pretty much gotten the same results. … This year, we got to see how much of the aquatic life was killed by the spill,” said Escalante Middle School seventh-grader Paige Ammeran.
Students found it surprising that insects were in the river in large numbers.
“The river quality has been fair to good the last two years, and it was fair to good this year,” she said. “We saw a good range of biodiversity, and the majority of macro-invertebrates we found were pollution intolerant, so that’s a good sign,” said science teacher Jenny Lavelle.