June 12, 2015

Eagle Rock Student Citizen Scientists Study Mercury in Dragonfly Larvae

Eagle Rock School students as a part of a five week class are serving as citizen scientists in Rocky Mountain National Park to collect dragonfly larvae from distinct sampling sites. The samples are then sent to the University of Maine, US Geological Survey, or Dartmouth College laboratories for mercury analyses. The study connects people to parks and provides baseline data to better understand the spatial distribution of mercury contamination in national parks.

Dragonfly larvae are currently being sampled for mercury levels in national parks. Mercury is a toxic pollutant that can harm human and wildlife health, threatening the natural resources the NPS is charged with protecting. The main source of human-caused mercury in remote national park environments is atmospheric deposition from coal-burning power plants.

The larval stage of the dragonfly lives in the water, and individuals are collected from river or lake bottoms with nets. Dragonflies spend most of their life in the larval form and eventually morph to the fast-flying aerial predator in the adult phase.


About Eagle Rock

Eagle Rock, a nonprofit Corporate Social Responsibility initiative of the American Honda Motor Company, is both a school for high school age students and a professional development center for educators. The school is a year-round, residential, and full-scholarship school that enrolls young people ages 15-17 from around the United States in an innovative learning program with national recognition.

The Professional Development Center works with educators from around the country who are interested in engaging in education renewal and reform. The Professional Development Center works with educators committed to making high school a more engaging experience for our country’s youth.

We envision this country’s high schools as high functioning centers of engagement and learning. We accelerate school improvement and support implementation of engaging practices that foster each students’ unique potential and help young people use their minds well.

For more information please visit and check us out on Twitter @eaglerockschool and on Facebook at