Newly molted damselfly and mayfly larvae, as well as several crayfish, were among the highlights of the finds from the latest Creek Critters of the Catoctin program held at Chapman DeMary Trail on August 28. Nearly 40 people attended the event, which was co-sponsored by Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy, Purcellville Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and the Purcellville Tree and Environment Sustainability Committee.
In addition to searching for creek critters among netted debris collected from the South Fork of the Catoctin, participants enjoyed identifying their finds and learning about their natural history.
The younger crowd had fun learning about different sources of point and non-point source pollution from Jennifer Venable of Loudoun Soil and Water Conservation District. Jennifer invited the children to apply various types of pollution, such as cocoa powder for pet waste and instant coffee for construction dirt, to an Enviroscape model of a watershed. After all the sources of pollution were applied, the children took turns spraying the model with water to simulate precipitation and discovered what happened to the watershed.
Participants also learned about how creek critters, or benthic macroinvertebrates, can tell us a story of the health of a stream and tried their hand at matching up some of these critters to their pollution tolerance levels.