This fall, ALLARM’s Stream Team piloted new engagement and workshop strategies for monitoring benthic macroinvertebrates. We hosted the first workshop early September on the Yellow Breeches Creek at Stuart Park at Barnitz Mill. Stream Teams from both watersheds in Cumberland County were represented, in addition to Swatara Creek in Dauphin County and altogether we were fortunate to find that the creek was plentiful with a high diversity of macroinvertebrates that day!
After the workshop, the ALLARM senior staff revisited monitoring goals, scoring calculations, and the workshop format. This was our first macroinvertebrates workshop since 2019, so we wanted to ensure our approach met our current organizational goals. Ultimately, we upgraded our scoring sheet to encompass more families and orders while identification materials were updated to include more detailed images and descriptions. An identification checklist was also created to ensure that volunteers learned about each possible type of macroinvertebrate during the workshop, even if one was not found at the workshop site.
At the end of October, we ran our second macroinvertebrate workshop of the season for Stream Team volunteers in Luzerne and Lackawanna counties at The Lands at Hillside Farms on Huntsville Creek. With volunteers in attendance representing each site in the area, we powered through the chilly morning and 9.8 °C water temperatures to implement the updated processes! We enjoyed hearing from Megan Prynn, who does the monthly monitoring at the site, about her site’s data trends to compare to the water quality score we calculated. We are excited to build on our work next season and to make the year 2023 for Stream Team the year of the macro!