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The Interactive Bioaccumulation Presentation


Grade school students participating in a Bioaccumulation presentation.

Julie Oakes photo, used with permission

Barb Jensen and other OWSEM members present a very popular hands-on exercise to define bioaccumulation and to illustrate the impact this process has on organisms (both human and non-human) within the food chain. Through role playing in which all of the children assume the part of either “little fish”, “big fish”, or Ospreys, the participants are guided through an activity in which they investigate and learn about the food chain as well as how contaminants, pollution, and our numerous human activities impact the environment and, in turn, ourselves.  To make the lesson of personal interest and on to which the children can relate, both the Michigan Osprey population and the recent Reintroduction Program are emphasized and used as examples to explain the local impact of bioaccumulation.

This bioaccumulation activity involves minimal site preparation and requires only a few props that are provided by the presenters.  The exercise is adaptable to various age levels and to both indoor and outdoor venues  An approximate group size of 25 children per session is an ideal number, but groups of more or less can be accommodated.  The activity requires a half an hour for completion, but more time is recommended for discussion, questions and answers, etc.

Past presentations of this popular program have been for the Clinton River Water Festival 2007-2012, the Rouge River Water Festival 2008-2012, Kensington MetroPark Farm Camp 2008-2010, fifth grade Hazel Park students attending Camp Hazelwood in the spring 2009-2012, third and fourth grade classrooms in the Huron Valley and South Lyon School Districts, and fourth grade classrooms at Coconut Creek Elementary in Broward County, Florida. Additional presentations are scheduled for 2013.

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