The Lida Picton Willey Lake has welcomed generations of students to Hutchison.
It is also an integral part of the curriculum, a gathering place for aspiring scientists or painters. For the younger grades, an impr omptu lesson ensues every spring when they spot one of the resident momma ducks protecting her nest.
In Middle School, the lake has become part of the science curriculum. Fifth grade girls collected samples to test for basic water quality indicators such as temperature, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, and pH, then graphed and analyzed the results. They compared their samples with acceptable published levels to identify whether the water is meeting its designated use and to identify any specific pollutants along with possible sources.
Sixth grade girls dropped weighted strings from their canoes to measure depth and later measured the clarity of the water before and after rainstorms. Google Earth was used to calculate volume and topographic maps of the surrounding landscape were used to read and interpret geographic documents and data. Girls learned about water flow within a watershed and what can cause the volume of a lake to decrease.
Each grade in middle school engaged in similar investigative and interdisciplinary studies of Willey Lake. Girls conducted research, collected and analyzed data, shared analyses between the grade levels and then, where appropriate, prepared recommendations for improvements to the Lake.