La Crosse, Wis. (WXOW) – An underwater R.O.V. robot can be used to discover what is beneath a body of water’s surface, and on Monday at Chad Erickson Memorial Park, 25 high school students learned just that. These students are part of WisCorps Mayor’s Crew, a program where kids work as a team to revitalize neighborhoods in the summer.
The purpose of Monday’s adventure was for the students to learn hands-on experience in recreation management and therapeutic recreation, in the hopes to spark career opportunities in those fields.
Laurie Harmon, the Chair of UW La Crosse’s Recreation Management and Therapeutic Recreation Department, said, often people talk about how technology is a barrier from the outdoors, but with the R.O.V. robot, it connects people closer to nature.
The R.O.V. robot can test salinity, water clarity, temperature, and discover aquatic life under water.
“I’m trying to get kids and adults to understand their space a little bit better and when they do that they have a tendency to switch their behaviors to protect that space, not just for their lifetime but for future generations as well,” Harmon said.
Harmond said the ponds at the park are home to turtles, tadpoles, crayfish and a vast range of plant species.
Brong Thao and Mai Yeng said, after Monday’s adventure, they both inspire to have futures in outdoor recreation.
“My crew found a turtle. I was pretty excited because it was really hard to find wildlife inside the water,” said Thao.
“This is just really neat!” Yeng said. “If everyone can get an experience like this, I can think it can open up a lot of opportunities and careers.”
The students had more activities other than learning about the R.O.V., they were able to go on a hike in the area and document what sort of plants or animals they found, and were able to have some time to sit down and reflect drawing a picture or writing a poem about what the environment meant to them.