Clean Water Challenge, Lois-Green Sligo Chapter of Izaak Walton League Assoc.
Clean Streams = Clean Communities! This was the motto of the Clean Water Challenge, sponsored by the IWLA, this cold morning. The local chapter, some boy scouts, and other community members gathered at the Lois Green Conservation Park near the Montgomery County Airpark for a clean up and stream monitoring study. I collected only a few items of trash and spent most of my time learning about the process of stream monitoring and aquatic macroinvertebrates. Though I love the outdoors, I don't really know much about ecology and kind of take it for granted. Well, now I know more than I did earlier this morning and do have a much better appreciation not only for the environment, but for the men and women who work to preserve it. Thank you!
Twice a year, this stream and others are monitored to assess water conditions and macroinvertebrates. This assessment includes remarks about the physical setting (depth, width, etc), current weather, appearance of the surface water and bank, nearby land uses, a flow rate test, and chemical tests for dissolved oxygen, pH, chloride, phosphate, nitrogen, and more. Nets collect bugs and macroinvertebrates to examine. This was a very cool biology lesson.
Our stream got a good report card! Though our shirts said Clean Streams = Clean Communities, it is clear that it works both ways as Clean Communities = Clean Streams too.
My Takeaways: (1) I wish more kids were able to see the application of their studies in this hands-on and relevant way. Memorizing definitions and learning science at a desk just doesn't cut it! This really brought biology to life!
(2) Though I knew intellectually that the use of chemicals in our cleaning supplies, the application of salt on our roads, land uses, etc. negatively impact water conditions and the ecosystem, watching and doing the chemical studies really drove this idea home. I don't have a special interest in macroinvertebrates and other aquatic life but I do like knowing that they are there and thriving!!