Most of us spend lots of time coming to understand the region’s mountain zones, forest types, seasonal wildflower succession, and annual bird migrations.  But beyond our boating, swimming, and aesthetic contact with the SURFACE of the ponds, lakes, and streams of the Valley, few probe these water bodies in greater depth to appreciate their critical mixing cycles or the seasonality of their productivity.  Join Dr. Lee Pollock for Tin Mountain’s Adult Nature Course, Learning from Bugs; the Role of Macroinvertebrates in Freshwater, to learn more about the exciting life beneath the surface.

These freshwater bodies all around us abound with a rich variety of animal life about which most of us also remain totally unaware.  Fishing folks who “match the hatch” in selecting appropriate flies or lures to use, and who have learned to “read the waters” to better seek their quarry know more.  But in an area where many people keep lists of the trees, shrubs, wildflowers, mammals, birds, butterflies, and dragonflies they have seen, a diverse world of equally interesting and often wonderfully bizarre invertebrate animals awaits attention.

Lee Pollock taught aquatic ecology for 35 years at Drew University in New Jersey before retiring with his wife, Sylvia, to a lakeside home on Big Pea Porridge Pond in 2005.  He continues to find ways to remain immersed in his science interests – conducting stream water-quality studies for two watersheds in New Jersey, with macroinvertebrate surveys for Tin Mountain’s Brook Trout Project here in the Mt. Washington Valley, and by participating in the Madison Hills Paleoecology Project to reconstruct post-ice-age environmental history of Big Pea Porridge Pond.  He also serves as a Board Member for the Tin Mountain Conservation Center.

This class & field session will offer an introductory glimpse into both of these worlds – what shapes  basic freshwater habitats and who are the major macroinvertebrate animals (animals without backbones that are large enough to see with the unaided eye) that inhabit them.  Other Tin Mountain programs this spring have helped set our stage talking about alpine ponds, the diversity of pond and wetland types in the area and how to inventory them.   This time we will review some fundamental concepts in limnology (freshwater ecology) as a context for reviewing several macroinvertebrate groups.  In the field session, we will use an Ekman dredge to sample bottom-dwellers in Chase Pond, a Surber sampler to explore macroinvertebrates from Chase Stream, and while we are at it, we’ll use a plankton tow to introduce smaller critters from the open water.   No background in either is required, although the presentation is aimed primarily at an adult audience.

The classroom session of the course will be Thursday, June 28 at 7pm and field session is scheduled for Saturday, June 30, 9am – noon.  You do not need to attend both session, although it is encouraged. Tuition for both sessions is $15/member and $20/non-member. For more information or to register, call 447-6991.