Saturday, 13 October 2018 12:08

The Wonder of Waterbugs

Gunning District Landcare’s latest school holiday activity on ‘Waterbugs’ had everyone captivated. The tranquil waters of Meadow Creek yielded an impressive range of weird and wonderful critters, including fresh water shrimp, baby yabbies, snails, blood worms, ‘fluffy bums’ and lots more. After an introductory chat in Gunning Library, most of the session was spent in Barbour Park, where aquatic ecologist Cecil Ellis demonstrated how to catch and identify waterbugs. Cecil was very impressed with level of keen interest among all participants, who ranged from 7 to 15 years old. The more tech-savvy amongst the group were quick to find their way around The Waterbug App, which is freely available to download to smart phones and other digital devices. Cecil explained that monitoring waterbugs is an important way to gauge the health of rivers and other waterways. The National Waterbug Blitz is a citizen science initiative that has begun this year, and everyone is welcome to take part. It is a great way to contribute to practical environmental science, and as we discovered last week, getting to know waterbugs is also heaps of fun!

At the end of the activity, all waterbugs were released safely back into the Meadow Creek.

A big thanks goes to Cecil Ellis, Gunning Library for hosting these activities, Janet Heffernan for suggesting the activity and providing the yummy snacks, and Acciona Energy for providing funding.