Clark has a new Stream Team!
Last year, I experienced for the first time the joy of sitting in a stream on a hot, humid summer day, with my impermeable waders keeping me dry while allowing the cooling and soothing effects of the ripples rushing to get by; all in the name of conservation.
From June to August, as part of my internship with Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust, I teamed up with Doug Rice and Katie Minnix to initiate an assessment of the water quality of four different streams in the Otter River Watershed in north central Massachusetts. Such a task entailed spending several hours a day at the beginning of each month surrounded by the beauty of the protected areas in which our streams were located at while collecting macroinvertebrates and taking other measurements (temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, etc.)
It was not all sun and games, however, as even more, sometimes seemingly endless hours were spent back at our lab at Clark peering through dissecting scopes in an attempt to identify the thousands of macroinvertebrates in our collections. While the identification process eventually came to be more on the tedious side, it certainly trained our eyes; for looking back to the first time John took us to a stream to demonstrate how collection was done, I could hardly make the macroinvertebrates out from among the sand and pebbles on the mesh net. By August, however, Doug and I could identify several of the tiny species while out on the field, as we had examined them under the dissecting scope hundreds of times.
The macroinvertebrates Doug and I collected, along with the other measurements Katie helped us take, provided us with an idea of the water quality and condition of each stream; information we then passed on to Mount Grace for their conservation efforts. While my work this summer no longer involves the fascinating little creatures I remember so fondly, I look forward to joining the Stream Team on a couple of their adventures and reading about the rest in this new and exciting StreamEcoBlog! This year you will more often find me writing for the Stickleblog.