In the Middle Patuxent River with 9th Graders

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)!

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Another group found a crayfish…and an golden colored dragonfly larvae.