I found this along the Ohio River bank last week.
The note says, "Please do not disturb. Science fair project."
Could it be a test of how the various materials attract algae, sediment or zebra mussel veligers? Perhaps we can find out some day.
I hope people respect the wishes of whoever put this experiment in the river and leave it alone. It reminded me of a couple of experiments that tried in my junior high years. One in particular happened during high water season. The river was backing up into a creek that ran through my father's farm. I wanted to know how fast the water was rising so I could figure if it would be over the back road my school bus ran on. So I placed a mop handle in a bucket of gravel and placed it at the water's edge, which was near the road. The idea was to check it every hour or so.
Well, about half an hour later someone told me they couldn't see my makeshift gage. So I went to the scene and found the mop handle lying on the ground near the road. I found out later that an outback boy -- you know, one of those guys who's as strong as an ox and half as smart -- saw it and pulled it out to see what it was. He couldn't figure out what it was doing there, so he threw it on the ground and walked off.
Yes, I hope the person doing this experiment has better luck than I had.