Stroud Water Research Center is helping people connect with nature and investigate their local stream ecosystems using the Leaf Pack Experiment Stream Ecology Kit.
Developed by the Stroud Center, the Leaf Pack Experiment Stream Ecology Kit is a hands-on scientific stream-testing kit that measures the numbers and kinds of insects and other invertebrates in streams to determine overall water quality.
It enables citizens, school groups, and others to explore nature as they learn about stream ecology and how to monitor their local freshwater sources.
Leaf Packs: A Hands-On Lesson About Stream Health
The Leaf Pack Experiment involves creating a retrievable pack of dry leaves in a mesh bag, placing the pack in the stream for three to four weeks, examining the pack in the classroom or other indoor setting, and discovering and counting the different types of aquatic insects that, in turn, help indicate stream health.
After conducting their own experiment, registered users share data through the Leaf Pack Network®. These data shed light on the important connection between streamside forests and the ecology of rivers and streams.
“The Leaf Pack Experiment is an exciting way to promote better stewardship of watersheds by engaging students and the lay public in the issue of how land use affects aquatic systems and water quality,” said Bern Sweeney, director and president of Stroud Water Research Center.
The Leaf Pack Network is part of the WikiWatershed toolkit. Visit the Leaf Pack Network website to learn how you can participate.
About the Leaf Pack Experiment Kit
Using the Leaf Pack Experiment Stream Ecology Kit, citizens and students will learn to design, implement, and analyze a scientific investigation while discovering the value of aquatic macroinvertebrates as living indicators of water quality.
The kit is reusable and flexible, adaptable to varying time constraints, number of participants, and grade levels, and it is geographically friendly, and complete. All the apparatus and guides necessary for collecting, sorting, and identifying macroinvertebrates are included.
The Leaf Pack Experiment Kit also includes a comprehensive instructor’s manual — a valuable reference guide that includes background material on stream ecology, a glossary, diagrammed instructions, experiment ideas, and field and lab data sheets.