On the 1st of June, the Institute of Environmental Solutions (IES) welcomed students from Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences (ViA) and pupils from More Elementary School to share IES’s knowledge in lake research, ethnobotany and research of wild herbs.
IES’ lake researcher Linda Buholce and project manager Roberts Rotbergs hosted the lake research session for students. They demonstrated the steps of lake research and management approaches that are suitable for Latvia’s environmental conditions. During the last five years, IES has developed a significant expertise in lake research. Moreover, in 2018, IES’s team will implement 30 lake studies. The researchers stress that for successful research and management of the lakes in Latvia it is necessary to involve various groups of stakeholders – municipality representatives, local people, students, entrepreneurs, and others. Therefore, IES is keen to raise awareness of lake research and potential of smart management to a wider audience. Although ViA students’ major is not biology or environmental sciences, they showed a great interest in lake research.
After the lake session, students together with IES’s researchers and specialists went to the Lizdole Lake where they used freshly collected knowledge in practice. The task was to get water samples from Lake Lizdole and to proceed them to a nearby water research laboratory. Water sampling and analysis is just one of the lake research stages that IES is practicing. To gain a holistic understanding of lake food chain and ongoing environmental processes, IES practice microscopic level analysis of algae, research of aquatic plants, fish communities, as well as their breeding base – phytoplankton and zooplankton.
While the lake researchers shared IES’s knowledge in lake research to ViA students, pupils from More Elementary School met IES’s ethnobotany researcher Baiba Prūse who provided insight into the ethnobotany research methods, as well as research of wild herbs. At the beginning of herbs' session, pupils learned how to prepare the scientific herbarium, as well as the most important steps of herb collection process. Next stop was a local meadow where they collected the herbs themselves. The herbs will be placed into the institute’s herbarium and will continue to serve as a part of the IES’s ethnobotany research. During the session, pupils also had the opportunity to watch drones and learn more about IES’s flying laboratory ARSENAL, which is mounted into special aircraft. The researchers of the IES were happy to see the students’ and pupil’s enthusiasm about various research themes. It shows a great example, that in order to raise interest in science and research, it is necessary to involve youngsters of different age in the research process.