The Howard County Conservancy conducts field trips with 9th graders in the county to gather another year of data for country’s Watershed Report Card and I am one of the volunteers helping to make it happen. In September, I volunteered twice and both were assessing locations along the Middle Patuxent River. About 120 students participate each day. There is a calm along the river before the students arrive and 30 pairs of boots left haphazardly by the first group of the day (the second group had the challenge of finding a matching pair and realizing that there might be water in the boots before putting them on).
I took more pictures on the second day…before the students arrived. The abiotic measures (like pH, nitrate, nitrite, dissolved oxygen, phosphorous, temperature, transparency, stream corridor) are done at 3 stations above the river. On this day those stations were along a paved trail that was close to the river.
Down in the river there were three other stations with D-nets, collection cups, ice cube trays, and plastic sheets….all used to collect macroinvertebrates for the water to further assess the quality of the river.
The highpoint from one group was finding a hellgrammite (the larvae of the dobsonfly that is as big as a small fish)!
Another group found a crayfish…and an golden colored dragonfly larvae.