Cleanup at the Commons

All photos provided by Katy Johnson.

Spring is a good time to get involved with local stream cleanups to clear watersheds of trash and debris accumulated over the winter. Fairfax Master Naturalist Katy Johnson provided photos and a report on a cleanup in her community. A real family affair.

She reported that the Country Club Hills community hosted the Friends of Accotink Creek and were joined by special guest Delegate David Bulova – a true champion of the environment – for their annual ‘Creek Cleanup at The Commons’.

Prior to the event some of the older children read a book titled, “The Water Walker” by Joanne Robertson, to develop a greater appreciation of water as a resource. The book is about an Ojibwa Native American Nokomis’ (grandmother’s) determination to raise attention to her people’s special relationship with Nibi (water) and to protect it for future generations.

Another afternoon highlight for the kids and adults alike was catching and counting the various macro-invertebrates in the water. This is a good Stream Monitoring technique because benthic macro-invertebrates are affected by physical, chemical, and biological stream conditions. The macro-invertebrate evaluation scored this section of the stream as a 5 on a scale of 1-10 (Macro-invertebrate Community Index – MCI). A midrange MCI score alerts the team that work needs to be done to improve the stream’s health. Creating awareness is the first step towards recovery.

The cleanup crew was large and included families in the community and friends of the community. The crew collected lots of trash, learned about creek critters, and had an overall great time taking care of their precious Nibi.

Katy lauded her community by saying, “Country Club Hills is an amazing place”!

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