33 bags of trash, and that was just on Monday

stream cleanup 2014
On Monday, the entire fifth grade walked to Mason District Park for a day of hiking, litter pick-up and stream monitoring. They collected 33 bags of trash, a large broken umbrella and half a sled.

Dan Schwartz of the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District spent the day with us, providing waders, nets, equipment and a lesson on how to determine the health of Turkeycock Run. Waders were hip-high (or higher) on students who gleefully did the “Benthic Macroinvertebrate Dance,” which looks an awful lot like a hyperactive Twist in the stream.

twist twist 2

The dance shakes up sediment on the stream bottom and sends organisms into a downstream net. Students carried the nets to tables on shore and identified the creatures that they caught. The species of creatures helps determine stream health: some critters are very sensitive while others can tolerate a lot of pollution.

The fifth-graders’ verdict on Turkeycock Run, which also flows through Green Spring Gardens before spilling into Backlick Run: Not too healthy.

The kids weren’t surprised about that, especially after all they’ve learned in the last couple of months about the Chesapeake Bay watershed, stormwater runoff and impervious surfaces.

What did surprise — and elate — them was the large number of salamanders they netted.

salamandercritters on the net girls IDing stream crittersstream monitoring IDshoes lined up for stream monitoring

 

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