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WINTER STREAM LIFE

Photo: Courtesy of the Fairfax County Park Authority (Ellanor C. Lawrence Park)

WINTER STREAM LIFE

When: Saturday, 02/12/2022 1:00 pm

Where: ELLANOR C. LAWRENCE PARK LOCATION
Pond Shelter
5235 Walney Road
Chantilly, VA, 20151

Cost: $8 per person.

Click here for activity details or call 703-631-0013.

Registration is online.

Event Description:

Explore Walney Creek with a naturalist to meet some of the small creek critters (macroinvertebrates) that call it home. Learn why so many different types of macroinvertebrates are active in winter streams. The naturalist will demonstrate winter collecting and participants can help pick, sort and learn to identify these magnificent critters. The program at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park runs from 1 to 2 p.m.

A World of Bugs

Feature photo by J. Quinn

Photos and article by FMN Steve Tzikas

Upon following an approved sampling protocol,
a net is ready for examination, collection, and identification of the macroinvertebrates captured on it.

As kids, we all had a fascination with bugs. If we owned a microscope, inevitably a few bugs would be examined close-up. We would be fascinated by the insects at natural history museums, even as an adult. Some of us would decide to make a career around bugs. With a vocational education leading to certification and licensing, one can become a pesticide applicator to protect homes and properties against harmful insects. With a little more education one can get a 4-year entomology BS degree. Personally I went into engineering, but it would not be the last time I encountered insects in some other than ordinary fashion. When I was Chief of the US Army’s Environmental Office in Japan, I had a program to control pine beetles on forested property overseen by the Army. There too were those pesticide applicators and any issues that I may have had to address with environmental and safety concerns. At another point in my career, with Ports-of-Entry programs, I was one of many who occasionally offered support to ensure our Agricultural Specialists had the resources they needed to secure America from deadly pests that could enter the country. In fact, there are many opportunities for aspiring students when it comes to insects. For those aspiring students, and for that matter curious adults, there are opportunities to get up close to insects, but in a more friendly manner, because these insects help us monitor the health of streams.

I just entered the Fairfax Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalist (VMN) course program, and one of the classes covers entomology and invertebrates. The VMN program is a great way to offer community service, get some exercise, and learn something that might be beneficial for a future goal. When I retire I would like to take some graduate level courses in GMU’s environmental science program, which has a biology/ecology component.

A large Hellgramite found by one of the sampling teams.

One of those local volunteer opportunities is with the popular stream monitoring program managed by the Northern Virginia Soil and Conservation District. It’s a chance to learn about watersheds, the basics of stream ecology and monitoring, the sampling and identifying of benthic macroinvertebrates, and the recording of that data for use by researchers and professional decision makers. For more information about this program, visit https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/soil-water-conservation/volunteer-stream-monitoring.

If this is something that appeals to your inner scientist, certifications are also offered once you accumulate some field experience. Part of that certification journey begins with this weblink: https://www.iwla.org/water/stream-monitoring/upcoming-water-monitoring-workshops.

This biological stream monitoring is great fun. People of all ages attend, not just teenagers. Like myself, there are also a lot of professionals – university graduates seeking new experiences, retired professors, and others who have an interest in life-long learning. Why not discover a whole new world of bugs? I hope to see you at one of the streams monitored in Fairfax County.

Stream monitoring events, Sep. – Nov.

Sugarland Run Stream Monitoring Workshop

Sugarland Run Stream Valley Park, Herndon VA
Sunday, 8 September 2019
10:00am-12:30pm

Join Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District as they discover aquatic life in Sugarland Run! This official NVSWCD stream monitoring workshop covers watershed health, what macroinvertebrates tell us about stream quality, and what you can do to prevent pollution in your local stream. This workshop will also help to prepare you to become a certified stream monitor. Registration is limited. Send questions to Ashley Palmer and RSVP here.

Accotink Creek Stream Monitoring Session

Lake Accotink Park, Springfield VA
Saturday, 14 September 2019
9:30 – 11:30am

Join Friends of Lake Accotink Park and Friends of Accotink Creek for a rewarding and fun time for adults and children who enjoy helping our parks and environment by identifying and counting stream critters to document the health of the stream. RSVP here.

Holmes Run Stream Monitoring Workshop

Roundtree Park, Falls Church VA
Saturday, 19 October 2019
9 – 11:30am

Join Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District as they discover aquatic life in Holmes Run! This official NVSWCD stream monitoring workshop covers watershed health, what macroinvertebrates tell us about stream quality, and what you can do to prevent pollution in your local stream. This workshop will also help to prepare you to become a certified stream monitor. Registration is limited. Send questions to Ashley Palmer and RSVP here.

Reston Association Stream Monitoring Workshop

Reston VA
Saturday, 19 October 2019
1:30 – 4:30pm

What better way to enjoy the changing seasons than to get your feet wet in one of Reston’s streams? RA welcomes new volunteers to assist with stream monitoring at several locations. Get involved with a small team to collect data and identify insects with the goal of assessing the health of Reston’s streams. Not only do you get to learn about streams, it also provides an opportunity to make new friends! Learn more and register.

Reston Association Stream Monitoring Workshop

Reston VA
Saturday, 16 November 2019
11am – 2pm

What better way to enjoy the changing seasons than to get your feet wet in one of Reston’s streams? RA welcomes new volunteers to assist with stream monitoring at several locations. Get involved with a small team to collect data and identify insects with the goal of assessing the health of Reston’s streams. Not only do you get to learn about streams, it also provides an opportunity to make new friends! Learn more and register.

Stream monitoring events, August 14-24

Reston Association (RA) Stream Monitoring Workshop

Walker Nature Center
11450 Glade Dr., Reston VA
Wednesday, 14 August 2019
1-4 pm

It’s hot! What better way to enjoy summer than to get your feet wet in one of Reston’s streams? RA welcomes new volunteers to assist with stream monitoring at several locations. Get involved with a small team to collect data and identify insects with the goal of assessing the health of Reston’s streams. Not only do you get to learn about streams, it also provides an opportunity to make new friends! Learn more and register.

Wolftrap Creek Stream Monitoring Workshop

Wildwood Park, Vienna, VA
Valley Drive SE to Mashie Drive SE
Friday, 16 August 2019
5-7:30 pm

Join the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District as they discover aquatic life in Wolftrap Creek at certified monitor Ho Yeon’s site in Wildwood Park! This official NVSWCD stream monitoring workshop covers watershed health, what macroinvertebrates tell us about stream quality, and what you can do to prevent pollution in your local stream. This workshop will also help to prepare you to become a certified stream monitor. Registration is limited. Send questions to Ashley Palmer and RSVP here.

Holmes Run Stream Monitoring Session

Near Hockett Street, Falls Church VA
Sunday, 18 August 2019
9 am-12 pm

Join certified stream monitor Valerie Bertha at her site in Holmes Run. Registration is limited. Contact Valerie for more information or to register.

Pohick Creek Stream Monitoring Session

Hidden Pond Nature Center
8511 Greeeley Blvd., Springfield VA
Sunday, 18 August 2019
1:30-4 pm

Join certified stream monitor Susan Demsko at her site at Hidden Pond Nature Center. Registration is limited. Contact Susan for more information or to register.

Reston Association (RA) Stream Monitoring Workshop

Reston, VA
Saturday, 24 August 2019
8 -11 am

Cool off by getting your feet wet in one of Reston’s streams! RA welcomes new volunteers to assist with stream monitoring at several locations. Get involved with a small team to collect data and identify insects with the goal of assessing the health of Reston’s streams. Not only do you get to learn about streams, it also provides an opportunity to make new friends! Learn more and register.

Children’s Science Center program needs macroinvertebrate IDers, June 30th & July 14th

Loudoun Water, 44865 Loudoun Water Way, Ashburn, VA 20147
Saturday, 30 June 2019 and Saturday, 14 July 2019
10 am – 1 pm both days

Each summer the Children’s Science Center selects a citizen science project to highlight and this year it is Creek Critters app and stream monitoring. Audubon Naturalist Society (ANS) will provide some Creek Critter support and Loudoun Wildlife will help with stream monitoring.  A few stream monitoring volunteers are needed to help with the event. Please note that there is nothing at the treatment facility that meets any stream monitoring protocol.

The agenda for the two events is to set up three stations for guests to rotate though:

1. Stream walk lead by Loudoun Water.
2. Creek Critter App and Stream Monitoring demo lead by ANS (need 1-2 people to help with the demo and who know a bit about Creek Critters).
3. Macroinvertebrate identification session lead by Loudoun Wildlife (Need 1-2 people to help with macro ID).  They will be pre-catching marcos for their demonstration.

Folks that love working with kids and their families and can help with macro ID at the two stations. For more information, contact Kara Pascale.

Stream Monitoring, Feb. 9th to Mar. 16th

Prince William (Hooes Run) Water Quality Monitoring Workshop
When: Saturday, 9 February 2019, 10 am-12:30 pm
Where: Castle Ct., Woodbridge VA
Join Veronica Tangiri of Prince William SWCD in monitoring this beautiful site of Hooes Run as it enters the Occoquan Reservior/River area. Chemical and biological data will be collected. Visitors parking lot and curb parking available. Contact Veronica for more information or to register.

Holmes Run Stream Monitoring Workshop
When: Saturday, 16 February 2019, 10 am-12:30 pm
Where: Roundtree Park, Falls Church VA
Join the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District (NVSWCD) as they discover aquatic life in Holmes Run! This official NVSWCD stream monitoring workshop covers watershed health, what macroinvertebrates tell us about stream quality, and what you can do to prevent pollution in your local stream. This workshop will also help to prepare you to become a certified stream monitor. Registration is limited. Send questions to Ashley Palmer and RSVP here.

Pohick Creek Stream Monitoring Session
When: Saturday, 16 February 2019, 1 – 4 pm
Where: Hidden Pond Nature Center, Springfield VA
Join certified stream monitor Susan Demsko in her winter stream monitoring at her site at Hidden Pond Nature Center. Registration is limited. Contact Susan for more information or to register.

Little Difficult Run Stream Monitoring Workshop
When: Saturday, 23 February 2019, 10 am-12:30 pm
Where: Fred Crabtree Park, Herndon VA
Join the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District (NVSWCD) as they discover aquatic life in Little Difficult Run! This official NVSWCD stream monitoring workshop covers watershed health, what macroinvertebrates tell us about stream quality, and what you can do to prevent pollution in your local stream. This workshop will also help to prepare you to become a certified stream monitor. Registration is limited. Send questions to Ashley Palmer and RSVP here.

Bryan Branch Stream Monitoring Session
When: Saturday, 23 February 2019, 1 -3 pm
Where: McLean VA
Join a certified stream monitor at this adopted stream to help make a difference in our environment. We will check on the health of one local stream in McLean. County and state officials will use the data you collect to assess the overall condition of our streams and help determine watershed management initiatives. Come learn more and help. Registration is limited. RSVP to Elizabeth Winston.

Holmes Run Stream Monitoring Session
When: Sunday, 24 February 2019, 9 am-12 pm
Where: Near Annandale Road, Falls Church VA
Join certified stream monitor Valerie Bertha in her winter stream monitoring at her site in Holmes Run. Registration is limited. Contact Valerie for more information or to register.

Friends of Accotink Creek Stream Monitoring Session
When: Saturday, 9 March 2019, 9:30 – 11:30 am
Where: Lake Accotink Park, Springfield VA
Join Friends of Accotink Creek volunteers as they assess ecological conditions in a stream, based on the presence and absence of bottom-dwelling invertebrates. Meet at the parking lot behind Lake Accotink Park Administrative Building. See additional stream monitoring information on the Friends of Accotink Creek website.

Cub Run Stream Monitoring Workshop
When: Sunday, 10 March 2019, 10 am-12:30 pm
Where: Cub Run Stream Valley Park, Centreville VA
Join the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District (NVSWCD) as they discover aquatic life in Cub Run! This official NVSWCD stream monitoring workshop covers watershed health, what macroinvertebrates tell us about stream quality, and what you can do to prevent pollution in your local stream. This workshop will also help to prepare you to become a certified stream monitor. Registration is limited. Send questions to Ashley Palmer and RSVP here.

Prince William (Cedar Run) Stream Monitoring Workshop
When: Saturday, 16 March 2019, 10 am-12:30 pm
Where: Evergreen Acres Farm, Hazelwood Dr., Nokesville VA
Join Veronica Tangiri of the Prince William Soil and Water Conservation District for citizen science monitoring. Come and learn more about the health of this stream and how it interacts with agriculture as it joins the Occoquan River. Contact Veronica for more information or to register.