Solon Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Stacey McCluskey, along with three parent volunteers, on Sept. 15 led students in a community science project called Stream Explorers, which seeks to audit macroinvertebrates in Maine’s rivers and streams.

The group collected specimens on Michael Stream in Solon.

“I’ve been looking for a community science project my students could be a part of for quite a while, and many are too complicated or require you to be out at night. I wanted something we could do together during the school day, locally, that would also tie into our curriculum,” McCluskey said in a news release. “Stream Explorers is fantastic. The training video for educators, the high-quality resources connected to the project, and the support the folks at the Maine Audubon provide are superb.”

The students found three different species of stoneflies and at least two species of mayflies, both indicative of a clean water source because stoneflies and most mayflies are sensitive to pollution.

They also found dragonfly nymphs, helgramites, water pennies, and many caddisflies.

“This was a great activity to do at the start of the year. It got my students curious about what’s right beneath our feet that we don’t know about yet. They practiced their observation skills. It made learning about adaptations much richer. And there are so many ways to extend this learning,” McCluskey said. “I followed this up by having students create a creature that is adapted to an environment of their choice. The adaptations of macroinvertebrates inspired them.”

 

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