Maine Audubon will provide free training

Written by Emma Smith

HOLDEN– VSall outdoor enthusiasts! The Melder Audubon joins the Melder The Department of Environmental Protection will offer free courses for volunteers who want to explore local watersheds to help collect environmental data.

The so-called Stream Explorers project was introduced to recruit, train and support volunteers who may be interested in searching for aquatic insects in waterways. The work they do will in turn provide valuable information on pollutant levels in watersheds.

Sally Stockwell, curatorial director at Maine Audubon, explained: “According to what they find, these different species are indicative of the quality of the water itself, some species are very pollution tolerant, many species are pollution intolerant…and when you find a lot of diversity in the species or families you are collecting – which is generally representative of high quality water.

Anyone can take on the challenge of identifying insects. The insects in question being specifically of the macroinvertebrate variety – such as stone fliesmayflies and dragonflies.

Through the use of hand nets and lenses (provided by the Melder Audubon) volunteers can catch macroinvertebrates and identify them using the handouts provided.

Depending on the scale of the challenge the volunteers are willing to take on, there are basic and advanced identification key guide options in order to get the identification job done.

Volunteer stream explorers do not need any previous experience surveying streams.

“We had a wide variety of volunteers, including families, home schooled groups, grandparents with grandkids, fishing buddies, retired scientists… so you know it runs the gamut,” Stockwell detailed.

The Stream Explorers Workshop will be held at Fields Pond Audubon Center on SSaturday, Sseptember 17 at 9 a.m.

Volunteers can register and find out more via this link.

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