Waterway Exploration Training gets kids and their families feet 'wet' with hike, presentation, creek evaluation
(Thirty-five young people and their families participated in the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association's July 21, 2022, Waterway Exploration Training (WET) at the Montour Preserve near Washingtonville.
Participants were divided into groups and rotated each hour through three stations: A guided hike along the preserve's Goose Woods Trail with Montour Area Recreation Commission Assistant Director and Naturalist Jon Beam, an Enviroscape presentation about watersheds and pollution with Susquehanna University intern Peyton Curley and Trent Fessler and a stream health review studying macroinvertebrates in the Chillisquaque Creek along Goose Woods Trail with Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper John Zaktansky, board member Doug Fessler and PA Master Naturalist volunteer Roberta Coulter.
"This program is designed to get young people and their families in the creek, to get wet and muddy and explore in ways to hopefully spark an interest in stewardship in the next generation, "said Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper John Zaktansky. "They learn about the interconnectedness of all things in the aquatic ecosystem and the importance of studying one element -- in this case macroinvertebrates -- as a way to gauge stream health."
The three groups collected a large assortment of different macroinvertebrates, including larval forms of mayflies, damselflies, caddisflies and a dobsonfly (hellgrammite), numerous crayfish, leeches, clam shells and other species, such as sowbugs. There was also a variety of small fish along with signs of different aquatic mammals along the stream edge.
Additional Waterway Exploration Trainings will be held in the near future. For details, continue to follow the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association on Facebook and its website (MiddleSusquehannaRiverkeeper.org)
John Zaktansky is an award-winning journalist and avid promoter of the outdoors who loves camping, kayaking, fishing and hunting with the family.