let the water flow
For our exhibition this year there were many parts and projects to showcase. This page will talk about and show my final product I presented at the actual night of exhibition. For the other projects I created for the exhibition please visit the "Watershed" pages under my 10th grade Science and my first 10th grade Exploratory class: Art and Design/Multimedia.
For my final product in my teams semester long watershed project my group and I decided to make a more interactive piece to present in order to attract more people to our booth while still providing useful and interesting information to our audience. Originally the idea was to create a roulette table that according to the color your ball landed on we would talk about economic related subjects relating to water. But the problems with that idea was that:
a) Building a roulette table in the time we had was incredibly complicated and difficult
b) My partners and I actually found the idea of economic related information not very interesting
How did we remedy these problems? Well the roulette table became a large spinner with multiple sections to land in and we came up with a new concept to present with the help of our Chemistry teacher. We asked her what she thought the most interesting thing in a watershed was and she said "How everything is dependent on everything. The balance everything needs to survive." Taking that my partners and I had an epiphany. We would talk about theoretical situations in which we would "take out" certain aspects of the watershed and what would happen after this aspect was eliminated. After much research about different aspects we came up with our own theories of what would happen based on our research. After this was done we began building and designing our spinner. For the design one of my partners and I created the structure while the I facilitated and helped with the painting and the illustration design (actual painted illustrations provided by Thomas Rada). I think this was one of my greatest strengths in the project, being able to facilitate and cooperate with my partners in the creation of the spinner. After we had finished designing, building and painting the spinner we just simplified and shortened our theories so that while presenting them we wouldn't talk for an excruciatingly long time. Even though the theories are just theories, the information used to establish them was very insightful and lead to the most important things I learned from the project; the balance that keep a watershed or habitat alive and healthy and how human activated and actions that disrupt this balance can, in extreme situations, completely obliterate or transform the watershed or habitat.
At the actual exhibition our project ended up being a big hit. Every passing person came to our booth and stayed to hear about all of the different theories we created. This is where all of my groups strengths came out, our public speaking and ability to play off each other during presentations. For hours we did this constantly. One explaining while the other two added on and used information given to transition to another subject in a way that the audience had to spin again. Eventually my partners when to present another project we created and math so I was left alone for the last hour. In this last hour I was able to keep the presentation of the project interactive, informative and fun for the different people that came to the booth. But while I am incredibly proud of our project and presentation there is always room for improvement.
I think an area of growth I had in this project was time management. While my group and I finished the project ahead of schedule by a couple of days leaving room for revisions there were times where we would go astray and go off task and socialize with our peers. For the actual project, I think the only thing I would've improved would be the spinning arrow. I would've added some more aspects to the design to stop the arrow at a specific place instead of just leaving flow freely.
Overall I am extremely proud of this project and how it was presented and received during our spectacular exhibition and can't wait to create and learn more on this team.
The super extra short versions of the theories (some in written form and other parts in bullet points):
Water: Well it should be pretty self explanatory what the Watershed would be like without Water. Water is the basis of the Watershed, the reason the name exists.
Humans: Humans, especially in North America have decided to take huge advantage of their watersheds. They have taken to using their watersheds to their advantage by creating streams for the water to flow to them, and by straight up daming these Watersheds. To be 100% truthful, if Humans never came to the United States or ever set foot on this land the land would be as it was before. There would be no artificial streams lakes. Water would be where it should. Without Humans the West would be a barren wasteland like it should be.
Animals: Animals play a crucial part in the great big cycle that is the Ecosystem. They regulate several things, such as the control of plant population. Although they also cause some bad things to water sources. Such as when animals have access to an open water source, because then animals are able to dispose waste in the water that then flows into other parts of the ecosystem that might not enjoy the waste so much. Waste such as, well, poo can cause there to be a growth in the amount of Algae that grows which in turn causes it to absorb oxygen from the water leaving little to no oxygen for some fish species around the algae. So there would be quite a large decrease in bodies of water that have suffered eutrophication. No animal pollination = dead plants
Vegetation: Vegetation in a watershed is nearly as important in sustaining the a watershed as the water is. In a way it balances everything in the watershed. Without vegetation in a watershed almost all animals and organisms would die off due to lack of nourishment and food. The carnivorous would eventually eat all the herbivores and the organisms would eventually go into a stage of survival of the fittest where all the carnivores would eventually hunt themselves into extinction. The area of the watershed would degrade and leave only the bodies of water to survive. But after a while the water would die off eventually due to the multiple sediments that would be exposed without the vegetation would be pulled into stream causing massive erosion causing a cease in water flow and inevitable death of the watershed.
Invasive Species: Invasive Species are species of plants and animals that were not originally meant to live in a specific area. Most invasive species were brought by settlers such as the Spanish and other European powers during the age of discovery. These non-native species often kill off and take over for natural local vegetation. These plant have a tendency to spread wildly after it has fully matured, spreading their species on the land, they also have a tendency to need a lot more water because they are not accustomed to the climates of the environment they are taking over. A local example of this is Eucalyptus trees in San Diego. This tree uses natural chemical warfare to inhabit an area and kill any other vegetations by dropping its leaves onto the ground, these trees have a special toxin that kill off any other plants trying to inhabit the area as well. This has caused the tropical plant to take over and spread through the Semi-Desert that is Southern California taking the place of many local plants that could use less water and make the watersheds healthier.