Over 40 people attended the Catch and Count Creek Critters program at the Chapman DeMary Trail in Purcellville on September 26. The event was co-hosted by Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy, Purcellville Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, and the Purcellville Tree and Environment Sustainability Committee. Amy Ulland, Stream Monitoring Program Coordinator, kicked things off with a discussion on the basics of stream monitoring and then attendees participated in benthic macroinvertebrate pollution tolerance activity.
Certified monitors and Loudoun Wildlife volunteers Phil Daley, Jennifer Venable, Emily Maltman, and Emma Lloyd, along with Loudoun Soil and Water Conservation District’s Conservation Specialist Pat McIlvaine then led smaller groups in the process of how to capture macros in the South Fork of the Catoctin. Attendees, including a Junior Girl Scout Group, enjoyed searching for macros in the net and sorting them into water-filled sections of ice cube trays. Amy Ulland guided interested individuals with the identification of macros using special magnifying glasses and a Magicscope.
Participants discovered and identified a wide variety of critters, including caddisflies, damselflies, mayflies, dragonflies, water pennies, riffle beetles, and some small clams. The children especially enjoyed being able to see the special adaptations, such as gills and claws, up close. Many people were amazed to realize that these unfamiliar larval macros eventually metamorphose into the adult forms (such as dragonflies) they are familiar with.