March 2, 2018— A tragedy ultimately paved the way for a brand new habitat to be born.
In 2002, the flood that rocked the Comal County region created the Canyon Lake Gorge, unearthing aquifers and fossils buried for more than 100 million years.
As a result, plant and animal life has sprung to life in the waters that now flow there.
Fifth-grade students at eight Comal ISD campuses had the unique experience of going on a field trip to the Canyon Lake Gorge and Canyon Dam-Hydroelectric Plant this school year.
The field trip, underwritten by the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA) and supported by the Gorge Preservation Society (GPS), provided opportunities for students to explore local natural resources. Both organizations are committed to support of education initiatives in Comal County.
Students rotated through six stations at the two locations. Sedimentary rocks and fossils, aquatic ecosystems and landforms are covered at the Gorge site. The Dam-Hydroelectric sites cover renewable energy, Canyon Dam and Spillway.
“This is a field trip that the kids seem disappointed when they first hear we’re going because it’s not the zoo or Seaworld,” said April Blackler, Bill Brown Elementary teacher. “When we’re leaving almost all of them say, ‘This is one of the best field trips I’ve ever been on.’ It’s one thing to talk about science in the classroom, but to touch, see and feel it is another thing altogether. I’ve had kids who used to not like science much at all have it become one of their favorite subjects because of this field trip.”
At the “Fossil Search” station, students are able to go on the prowl for Snail, Spiny Urchin and Green Algae fossils in the Canyon Lake Gorge.
“There’s so many neat things these students are getting to see and learn about here,” said Jim McCullough, who’s on the Board of Gorge Preservation Society. “You have botany, geology, aquifers, faults, biology and many other marvelous wonders within a very small area. I live in Houston and we sure don’t have anything like this there.”
In the “Biology and Water Lab” station, students searched for small animal and plant life in nets before looking at them under microscopes.
“The best part of this field trip is getting to experience all these different habitats,” said Bill Brown student Katelyn North. “We discovered so much.”
At the “Hydroelectricity” station students learned that hydroelectricity is one of the cleanest and most cost-effective forms of electricity. They also learned the differences between renewable and non-renewable energy resources.
This is the fourth straight year Comal ISD students have taken field trips to the Canyon Lake Gorge and Canyon Dam-Hydroelectric Plant. During that time, more than 2,500 students have taken the field trip.
“We can’t thank the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority and the Gorge Preservation Society enough,” said Taylor Keller, Comal ISD science coordinator. “This has been an excellent, hands-on way for our students to learn and get excited about science and we hope the partnership continues for years to come.”
IN PHOTOS: Bill Brown Elementary student Madeleine Chaney discovers a fossil during the school’s Canyon Lake Gorge field trip. It was one of many unique adventures the students experienced.
Bill Brown Elementary student Isaiah Nelson looks closely under a microscope at his discovery deep in the Canyon Lake Gorge during his school’s field trip.
Bill Brown Elementary student Lukas Haider uses his net to search for plant and animal life that he will ultimately study under a microscope during the “Biology and Water Lab” station of the Canyon Lake Gorge field trip.
Canyon Lake/Sattler OFFICE / Mailing Address
2075 FM 2673, Suite D
Canyon Lake, TX 78133
Office Hours: Monday-Friday 9am-5pm
N 29.86304 W 098.18750
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