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Macroinvertebrates workshop Fox River

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Many years ago, when I was a high school teacher, I used an analogy to

explain to the students that we can accomplish few things in life without


"Even the best football player," I enjoyed making the comparison, "who

scored a record five touchdowns in the Home Coming game eventually has to

review the films the following week and realize that, while he ran a pretty

good game, he could not have done it without the help of his team mates who

were hurling themselves into the defense fearlessly."

The same is true of those concerned with the environment.

Like most sports, it is a matter of team effort. Nobody can do it without


Oh, sure, there were great environmentalists like Aldo Leopold, Rachel

Carson and the Valley's own patriot who called himself The Fox.

They had great ideas and found ingenious ways to share them, to broadcast

them to generations yet unaware of how critical the timing was for

conserving our precious, finite natural resources and how important it was

to weigh all societal progress against the toll on the environment.

So, it continues to this day.

I missed Earth Day. Many of you did, too.

However, there are those who understand that the struggle may be promoted

with a celebration of the planet, with posters and articles and videos but

that eventually someone has to roll up their sleeves, to step into the water

and accept the challenge personally. Somebody has to do something to make

things better.

The Friends of the Fox River is a tireless, dedicated group of volunteers

which doesn't wait for the once-a-year Earth Day projects to do some good.

So, here's a salute to the Friends of the Fox River! Thank you, for all you

do to keep the focus on the reclamation of one of Illinois' rare

environmental jewels. Certainly, the Fox River is more a diamond in the

rough, these days, than the brilliant sliver of an ecosystem from the past

that we often talk about, but it is making a comeback and it wouldn't were

it not for the efforts of groups such as the Friends.

Here's a way to do something good for the planet by beginning with your back

yard. It is an introduction for stream monitors, teachers, fishermen or

anyone curious about what's living in their local stream.

The McHenry County Conservation District and Friends of the Fox River's

Monitoring Network are co-sponsoring a free introduction to benthic (stream

bottom) macroinvertebrates workshop on Saturday, April 28 from 1:00-4:00

p.m. at Glacial Park, Conference Center (The Lodge), in Ringwood.

"This workshop is a whole lot of getting up close to benthic

macroinvertebrates," according to Jennifer Howard, Media Relations

Coordinator for the Friends of the Fox River. "Learn how these small stream

critters tell the big story about what's going on in our local streams. The

workshop will begin indoors with a detailed macroinvertebrate slideshow

presented by McHenry County Conservation District Restoration Ecologist John

Aavang. John will share interesting facts about stream critter adaptations

and help participants sharpen their identification skills. We'll then spend

time in a local stream collecting and identifying macroinvertebrates. Lots

of resources and identification practice will be packed into this afternoon

workshop for adults."

If you doubted that rehabilitating local streams is really a lot of fun, the

last line of her note should put you over the top: "Participants are asked

to bring waterproof boots."

Sounds like running through puddles during a warm spring day drizzle. As

future Aldo Leopolds say, How cool is that?

To register and more info: Contact Mary Kozub, McHenry County Conservation

District at 815-479-5779 or mkozub@mccdistrict.org.

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