“Oh! That felt really weird,” Keelin Mathews said.

The 15-year-old was scooping macro invertebrates out of a tub of water, when a crayfish brushed against her plastic spoon, startling her.

Photo and article by Markeshia Ricks, New Haven Independent

Photo and article by Markeshia Ricks, New Haven Independent

The Common Ground High School student (at right in photo) never thought much about the little critters in water, or what their presence means to water quality. But after a few hours on the banks of the Mill River, she said, “It does make sense.”

Keelin, along with nine other students from her high school, was participating in the fourth Water Boot Camp, a week-long program designed to introduce high school students to environmental-related careers at public water utilities like the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority.

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