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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

June 19, 2018 - 11:26am --

By Amanda Barnum, OSU Extension Intern

On June 7, thirty-four 4-H youth and volunteers of Morrow County climbed aboard research vessels for a hands-on adventure on a Science Cruise by Rattlesnake Island!

While thirty feet from the bottom of the lake, excited youth readied with research equipment measured wind speed, temperature of air and water, wave patterns, depth of the lake, and even got to bring up material from the bottom of the lake! After collecting this important data, they got to go trawling for fish and collect plankton!

In the afternoon youth got to see the unseen of the morning findings through microscopes. They discovered what plankton looks like and even saw them moving! Some of the members could not keep up with their small critters like the Cyclopoida under their microscopes!

Next, they got to identify fish from the lake! But, the best part is when they got to cut right in for an all informative dissection! Members saw how the heart is two different colors and they got to deflate the swim bladder. Did you know that the swim bladder allows the fish to go up and down in the water? When the bladder is full of gases the fish gets lighter to float up and when the bladder is small and the muscles are tight the fish can sink. The kids were relieved when they found that out!

At the end of the day the whole group got to grab a net for collecting insects to identify! With the help of the guides and the trusted island dog, Newton, members got to explore the whole island while learning the history and even finding snakes along the way! We learned how there is a healthy snake population this year because the weather is just perfect for them to be out and about!

“I probably haven’t ever done this much science in a day! We live in a great county with an amazing 4-H community. Morrow County kids had a great opportunity to participate in this trip,” said Tolly Bockbrader, 4-H volunteer and field trip participant. 

The Ohio State University’s Stone Lab ( on Gibraltar Island is a freshwater biology research, science education, and outreach field station that have introduced thousands – from elementary to adults – to the basics of field-based biological science. Professional researchers work at Stone Lab to help solve pressing issues of all the Great Lakes. They want to bring hands-on science and education to everyone.

For questions about the trip or to learn more about future trips, contact Amanda Forquer, 4-H Extension Educator,



4-H Science Field Trip to Stone Lab attendees!


Garrett Harvey with a fish caught while trawling.