This month I took my ecology 201 class (freshmen) on its annual trip to Bassin Zim near Hinche. Classes are getting larger each year, so we had to divide the group up between two Saturdays. There is now a sign at Bassin Zim with entrance fees, so we didn’t have the usual dramatic haggle of price negotiation. Maybe someone saw last year’s blog post complaining about that? The fee is $5 for foreigners, and 50 gds (78 cents) for Haitians, and they give us a reduce price! The goal of the trip was for students to experience performing a bioassessment of the site, comparing the basin below the falls (where people swim, wash, etc.) to the small stream that comes out of the cave above the falls. There is a remnant of a forest along this river – perhaps because of the spiritual taboo of cutting trees around cave entrances.
We looked at land use, tested water quality (bacteria, nitrate, phosphate, pH, DO), and used sPer environmental meters* to measure air temp, humidity, light, and wind. No one killed anything this time, and students picked up their liter. I tried to give the young ‘guides’ (kids who live near the park and grab your hand to ‘help’ you, hoping for a tip) some suggestions for protecting the park, like use the paved paths. See the Audubon Center blog for comparison of results over the years.