Lake Tahoe research conducted by elementary school students |

Lake Tahoe research conducted by elementary school students

Gardnerville Elementary School fifth grages learn about Lake Tahoe during a recent field trip with the Great Basin Outdoor School.
Special to the R-C

Gardnerville Elementary School students were made into scientists during their recent trip to Lake Tahoe aboard a research boat.

Dana Rosingus’s fifth-grade class boarded the boat with the Great Basin Outdoor School to learn about the lake and the importance of maintaining a clean environment.

Great Basin Outdoor School allows students to immerse in day trips and multi-day/night trips on Lake Tahoe shorelines and other local sites. Students hike, snowshoe and learn local ecology through hands-on activities and conservation projects according to

“Great Basin Outdoor School provides students with real world experiences in their own backyard,” Rosingus said.

Students evaluated the health of Lake Tahoe by conducting experiments to test water clarity, salinity, and pH levels and also learned about water conservation, erosion, pollution, and invasive species through dynamic instructors and fun-filled activities.

“The class also built watersheds in the sand and explained how the water cycle works to move snow pack from the ridge lines of the Sierra down to our streams, valleys and lake, providing clean water for people, animals and plants,” Rosingus added.

Students participated enthusiastically and appreciated the opportunity.

Kolton Brown explained the importance of checking boats of foreign species before entering the lake.

“Zebra (mussels) are invasive species,” he said. “It’s important to check your boat for them, so you won’t bring them into Lake Tahoe. They will take all the food and harm other species that need the same food. They would damage beaches.”

Fifth-graders Berkeley Hagenbach, Richard Borgzinner and Kaylee Briscoe were happy to learn how they can help keep the lake clean. They want to inform others to keep the water clean so it remains drinkable and safe for people and wildlife to enjoy.

“I learned about water clarity,” said Hagenbach. “It is important to know how much we have polluted the water and how we can stop pollution. I am grateful to have the chance to go on a boat and learn the history of our beautiful lake.”

The trip was made possible because of the following sponsors: Michael Paustian, Jessica and Darrell Johnson (Intero Real Estate), The Carson Valley Active 20-30 Club #85, Pacific Gas and Electric, CA and Great Basin Outdoor School Scholarship Fund. The Nevada Division of Environment Protection also provides major support for local students to study and protect water quality.

“I am most grateful to my wonderful teacher for saving up money so we could go on a boat and enjoy this filed trip,” said Briscoe.

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