The Chapman DeMary Trail in Purcellville provided the perfect venue for the 15 participants attending the Splash into Citizen Science stream monitoring educational event on Sunday, April 11th.
Jen Venable, Education Specialist at Loudoun Soil and Water Conservation District, kicked things off with a discussion about watersheds and a demonstration how different pollutants end up in our waterways.
Then five certified stream monitors from Loudoun Wildlife’s Stream Team discussed the basics of stream monitoring, the different pollution tolerance levels and feeding strategies of various benthic macroinvertebrates (or “macros”) living in streams, and also conducted a simulated stream survey with life-sized laminated pictures of the macros that needed to be sorted and identified.
Equipped with this knowledge, the participants headed to the banks of the South Fork of the Catoctin at the Trail with our certified monitors to collect, sort, and identify the macros hiding in the riffles of the creek. A variety of macros — including mayflies, stoneflies and net spinning caddisflies — captured the interest of everyone from elementary students to adults.