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Do Aquatic Worms Equal a Healthy Reedy Creek?

Two students testing the water of Reedy Creek

Middle School science students assessed the health of Reedy Creek this past week by collecting and examining macroinvertebrates such as clams, larvae, and aquatic worms. Based on the types of macroinvertebrates collected at the site in Forest Hill Park, students determined which pollution tolerance categories ("sensitive," "somewhat sensitive," and "tolerant") were most frequently represented in the stream. Students collected multiple clams, aquatic worms, crayfish, crane fly larvae, midge larvae, and a few leeches! The young scientists determined that the Forest Hill section of Reedy Creek contains enough Group Two "Somewhat Sensitive" macroinvertebrates to be considered moderately healthy.
Much of Reedy Creek passes over roadways such as Midlothian Turnpike, and collects litter, debris, and vehicle pollutants as it enters the James River Park System. Reedy Creek spills directly into the James River, and ultimately into the Chesapeake Bay. While students had fun studying the creek's critters up close, it was certainly enlightening for them to understand more about what lives (and can't live) in our local watershed. 

  • middle school
  • outdoor education
Reedy Creek Macroinvertebrates Video 3
Boy Testing the Waters of Reedy Creek

Students regularly travel off-campus to explore the natural environment of Richmond. This student is seen attempting to capture macroinvertebrates, to supplement his lesson in Mr. Recinos' science class.  

Girls testing the waters of Reedy Creek

Here, students are doing tests on the creek water to learn the quality and pH of the water that runs through it. This allows them to think more critically about the water that they drink and use every day. 

Girl looking for Macroinvertebrates in Reedy Creek
Reedy Creek Turtle
Classifying a macroinvertebrate
Classifying macroinvertebrate tools
Reedy Creek Macroinvertebrates Video 1
Students collecting macroinvertebrates in Reedy Creek

Students regularly travel off-campus to explore the natural environment of Richmond. These students are searching for macroinvertebrates in Reedy Creek to supplement their lesson on native species of the Virginia water systems. 

Mr. Will showing students how to look for macroinvertebrates
Reedy Creek Macroinvertebrates Video 2