Despite the very low stream flow in the South Fork of Catoctin Creek, 55 people attended the Creek Critters of the Catoctin program presented by Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy’s Stream Team at Chapman DeMary Trail on August 27. Sponsored by the Purcellville Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and the Purcellville Tree and Environment Sustainability Committee, the program attracted folks of all ages, including a large Girl Scout Troop.
Participants learned about various point and nonpoint sources of pollution that can wind up in the watershed and different ways to reduce these pollutants through an interactive Enviroscape demonstration. Younger participants enjoyed sprinkling various “pollutants” (such as fertilizer in the form of hot chocolate) onto the watershed model and watching how they washed into the streams after a “rainfall event” (water from a spray bottle).
Although the Stream Team couldn’t collect any benthic macroinvertebrates (aka “creek critters” or “macros”) at the stream, they set up various learning stations instead. These stations offered the opportunity to get an up-close look at live macros, learn about stream monitoring protocols and different pollution tolerance categories of macros, and identify macros using a dichotomous key and field guide.
Thanks to the Town of Purcellville’s Amie Ware for coordinating this event, and Stream Team members Chris Henke, Jason Kahn, Jennifer Venable, Emily Maltman, Lisa Klug, Emma Lloyd and Hannah Gibson for sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm about macros and stream monitoring.