With two streams flowing through the village we have an ideal opportunity to learn about fresh water invertebrates. What is comes as quite a surprise to people is how much life exists in the completely clear and to the naked eye the apparently lifeless spring water running down into the village pond. To find what lives in the stream you need to master a few basic collection techniques and have good eye sight but with the use of a microscope a fascinating new world opens up.
The group has bought all the basic survey equipment and two small digital microscopes which we have trained children in the village to use. The microscopes connect directly to a lap top computer so quite detailed pictures can be taken of creatures only a few millimetres long like the Mayfly nymph on the right. In the space of half an hour using specialised nets and the "kick and sweep" technique it is quite easy to collect 10 - 20 different species of small creature. By far the most common are the fresh water shrimps that rush around in the collecting jars but we also have large numbers of mayfly, stone fly and cadis fly larvae as well all sorts of small flat worms and beetles. You don't need any equipment to see the wide variety of cadis fly larvae that construct protective shells from small stones or vegetation. Most medium stones if picked up and turned over will have some of these shells attached like the picture on the right. If you look carefully you can see the slightly disgruntled occupant looking out of the open end. But please put them back where you found them.
The group is in the process of purchasing a much better microscope with a Lottery Grant we have just been awarded which will allow us to be able to distinguish between different sub species much more clearly as well as allowing the children in the village to learn how to use good quality scientific equipment. We are planning to like up with a local school at a stream dipping event in the summer of 2011 as part of a plan to extend our group's activities beyond the village.

Mayfly nymph.

Cadis Fly larvae.