This year the Stream Explorers met at the Touber building. The Scout Hut is being renovated, and the City of Salida kindly offered us a room so we could be near the river. The first session saw about 10 students and we had a high school volunteer helper too.
A winter storm storm was on the way and the morning was cold. We swapped the order of the class to start discussing habitat qualities and criteria (temperature, light, etc), and proceeded with the various brine shrimp experiments. It’s interesting how the students get seemingly consistent results that lead us to different conclusions than in years past. This year the brine shrimp were determined to prefer living in sunlight but in bottom of cold water.
After a snack break it had warmed up a bit and we went to the river at the McCormick park. A few tables were set up with microscopes, magnifying lenses, pipettes, etc. The students identified a few different different habitats and found different sorts of insects/larvae in them.
What was impressive: lots of variety! The river looks really healthy — we found tons of cranefly larvae (as opposed to 3-4 in years past), lots of mayflies and caddis and stoneflies. We even happened to net two trout fingerlings! Of course that could also be the class location — this year we are in a different section of river, roughly a quarter mile further downstream than in the past.