Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation’s annual bug catch the Fourth of July weekend brought kids of all ages including their parents and grandparents, to the WACF Educational Center Saturday morning.
Diana Castell, ecology education director for WACF, noted the foundation is all about “preserving the water quality of our lakes, in efforts to do that, the bug catch program was started to teach young people about the value of having insects in the water and how important that is to water quality.” Nancy Brown, certified Hoosier water trainer, assists in the program.
Brown provided a brief educational lesson on benthic macroinvertebrates, or critters as she calls them, “The reason we look for benthic macroinvertebrates is because they help tell us what the water quality is. Just like you can tell the quality of water by the fish you catch, you can tell the kind of water quality you have by the insects that live in the water.”
Brown shared why these critters are important to the lake’s habitat — the food chain. “They depend on these critters.” She further explained she only looks for the bugs, “that’s how we identify water quality, certain animals can only live in very high water quality, we can tell by what we find.”
The group of close to 100 walked out to the lake front to begin their bug catching using nets and buckets with see-through bottoms. Sheets with various types of critters were on hand to look at what was caught, along with water magnifying containers. A variety of critters and non-critters were scooped up by the kids including dragonfly nymphs, zebra mussels and a few other lake life.
A light breakfast was provided before the fun began.
The bug catch is part of the WACF’s Lake Talk and Eats program the first Saturday of each month from June through August. The next Lake Talk and Eats will be Saturday, Aug. 1. The topic will be: invasive/exotic species.
The programs are 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the WACF Center, 11586 N. SR 13, Syracuse. Programs are free and open to the public.