Contact Sara Witt

Did you know that there are various little insects, worms, clams, and other creatures that live at the bottom of your local creek? Biologists around the world know that these creatures — formally known as benthic macroinvertebrates, but often simply called “bugs” — can tell us a lot about creek health. We know that some bugs are sensitive to pollution, while others are quite tolerant. The types of bugs we find at a site will reflect what habitat quality has been like there for days, weeks, or even months prior to sampling.

Since 2006, our volunteers have conducted an ongoing study of the bugs in Stevens Creek. We sample bugs from several sites each fall and then meet at our “Bug Club” on Wednesday evenings throughout the rest of the year to process the bugs. We are lucky to be guided in this study by Steve Fend, a recently retired US Geological Survey stream ecologist and entomologist. No prior experience is needed to take part in this scientific study. Our one requirement is that volunteers — adults and students 13 years of age or older — make a commitment to learning proper lab protocols.