Friday, August 6, 2021

Winthrop, a Floating Wetland, And a Rainy Day

On Tuesday, my group went to Winthrop with Caroline's group, where we went to a beach and did a little bit of beach profiling, which is when you measure the slope of the beach and the shape that all of the sediment makes. We tried two different methods. The first was with emery rods, which is the more tedious way. To do this, we connected each end of a six-foot long string to the two rods, and we had to line up a marking on one pole with the horizon, which lined up with a measurement on the other pole. we repeated this process six feet at a time, until we made it from the top of the beach to the shore.

Using the emery rods

Using the RTK GPS was a lot easier, because it was connected to a program on phone of the person who owned it, so we just had to walk in a straight line, pause after a few steps, make sure it was level, and then click a button to record the point. All in all, I think that both methods produced similar results, although there was more room for human error using the emery rods.

My group standing in front of the floating wetland
On Wednesday, we went to the esplanade. While we were there, we saw a floating wetland. It is an experiment to see if the floating wetland reduces the algal blooms of cyanobacteria in the Charles river, which are harmful to the river's health and human health, which limits recreational use of the river. Algal blooms are an indication of a broken food chain, and in the Charles river, the missing organism is zooplankton. The floating wetland provides an additional habitat and refuge for zooplankton, so it will hopefully strengthen the population. Then, the zooplankton will keep control the cyanobacteria population under control, since they eat it. After the floating wetland has been installed for two years (it has been about one year so far), a research group will collect data on to see if it has helped balance the food chain. And although the floating wetland is only about 700 square feet, it won't solve this problem for the entire river, but researchers will use it to collect data and help with future efforts.

While we were there, we also walked around the park and talked about the different features that are important when planning a park. Some of the features that we talked about included accessibility, which means that it is important for a park be located near a train station or bus stop and have a parking lot to make it easier for people to visit it. We also thought that parks should have places to rent bikes and boating equipment if it is along a body of water.

On Thursday, we continued our discussion of the important features that parks should have, and we each designed a blueprint of our own parks. In my blueprint, I made sure to include trash cans throughout the park to prevent littering, many benches, a few restrooms, and places to rent bikes and boating equipment. I also added a few playgrounds, sports fields, a basketball court, a tennis court to make it more enjoyable, a food and picnic area, and trails all around the park where people can walk, run, and bike. For accessibility, I made sure it was near a main road and I added bus stops near the entrances.

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