by Helen Schlimm, Community Science Specialist, Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring (ALLARM)
Macroinvertebrate samples are a great learning tool for all ages!
Recently, the Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring (ALLARM) at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA, used CMU’s lucite macro samples and the macroinvertebrates.org website for two awesome educational experiences. ALLARM taught a short course on PA Streams at a local library with the Institute for Lifelong Learning program. The macro samples were the highlight of the final class (stream health 101), where participants identified the bugs under a microscope and used the site on the screen to see high quality pictures and make better determinations. People were amazed to see the diversity of bugs that could be found in their streams!
The macro samples were a big hit at our second event, the finale of the Conodoguinet Creek Snapshot monitoring series. Volunteers throughout the Conodoguinet watershed in Cumberland County sampled water quality and came to ALLARM’s space to test their water and engage in hands-on watershed education activities. The macroinvertebrates and microscopes featured prominently, and participants of all ages enjoyed identifying the macros and learning about the role they play in watershed health. The samples and the website are fantastic tools for community engagement and education, and everyone had lots of fun exploring them as well!
An interdisciplinary team