The weather was perfect for exhibiting at the Goose Creek Association’s Fall Festival at the Aldie Mill on September 19. Amy Ulland, Loudoun Wildlife’s Stream Monitoring Program Coordinator, joined forces with Pat McIlvaine and Jennifer Venable from Loudoun Soil and Water Conservation District, for a hands-on stream monitoring display that attracted 75 people. Jennifer, also a Loudoun Wildlife Board Member, brought her daughter, Maggie Bergin, to help with the display. Kira Carney, Save Our Streams Mid-Atlantic Coordinator, was also on hand to discuss the Izaak Walton League’s Salt Watch Program, which Loudoun Wildlife’s Stream Team participates in.
The display included opportunities to search for live benthic macroinvertebrates among debris from local stream water and then observe them with magnifying glasses and a Magiscope. A simulated stream survey and accompanying field guides were also available for those interested in attempting to identify the variety of macros that one might discover in the stream bottom.
Most participants were familiar with crayfish, but many commented that they never knew others, such as stoneflies and riffle beetles, existed and delighted in taking a closer look at them. People were amazed to learn that these critters vary in their sensitivity to pollution and can help citizen scientists to determine the health of a stream!