Bird Banding and Stream Study- Part 2


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After a great morning at the bird banding center we couldn’t wait to see what was involved with the stream sampling part of the outing. After lunch we gathered again and hiked down to Powdermill Run creek. We were going to learn how to take a stream sample and look for macroinvertebrates that are pollution sensitive. By gathering samples and looking to see what was living in the water we could then determine the quality of the water.

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The group was split into “teams.”

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Each team was giver a “D net” and a bucket to hold their “creatures.”

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The man leading the class was very informative and fascinating to listen to. He explained to the kids how to gather a sample and then got down and dirty with them as they dug around in the creek. Tyler was particularly taken with him and wouldn’t leave his side.

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I was surprised to see that Tyler was so fascinated with the activity. I thought it would be Ozzie who would love it but Oz was content to just wander and observe. It was Tyler who was flipping rocks and digging in the dirt to find the samples.

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For a while Molly and Rusty worked as a team

with Grace helping the two little boys.

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Bu it wasn’t long before Ozzie began to wander away and Tyler ditched Grace for the teacher, so she joined up with Molly and Rusty.

All the kids had fun. They enjoyed splashing around in the creek in their rubber boots.

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It was fun to see the critters they pulled out of the water to add to their sample bucket.

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We were in the creek for an hour.

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Ozzie emptying the water out of his boots. 🙂

At the end of the hour everyone carried their sample buckets back to the shore where we then spent the next half hour identifying what we found.

Everyone was given a “cheat sheet” to help identify the microinvertebrate life in their buckets:

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Using the key the kids began the identification process:

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In their two buckets they found: Cranefly larva, Mayfly nymph, Caddisly larva, Dobsonfly larva, Stonefly nymph, Crayfish, and a little brown trout.

The teacher explained that the more invertebrate circled on the bottom line, the cleaner the water is. They are the ones that are most pollution sensitive.

After examining everyone’s samples we concluded that the water was very clean. The teacher confirmed our guess, telling us that this stream has received an “Exceptional Value” rating and is one of the top 9% cleanest streams in Pennsylvania.

The kids agreed that this was one of the best school outings we have attended. The classes were so well taught and the staff was amazing. We highly recommend a visit to Powdermill Nature Reserve!

A perfect way to end the school year!

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