By Deb Patterson
SYRACUSE — The coronavirus and social distancing didn’t stop the fun at the annual Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation’s annual Lake Talks & Eats Bug Catch Saturday, July 4. It did however, keep the number of participants down.
Normally over 100 kids, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles converge on the WACF educational center for this event. This year, close to 30 attended. But there was still a lot of fun getting in the water and searching for critters that determine the health of the lake.
Earlier in the morning volunteers gathered samples of what is in the lake – water scorpions, scuds, small catfish, dragonfly nymphs, right and left-handed snails, turtle eggshells and even minnows. These samples were placed in tubs and spread out over three educational tables near the Ruddell Pavilion, with three more tables set up near the shoreline of the lake on the WACF property.
Family groups were sent to an educational table where volunteers provided brief educational information. Such information included a green, yellow, red division of what insects and other critters would be classified if found. Those found in the green category would live well in a healthy lake. Those in the yellow category would indicate a little pollution of the water. Any critters found in the red were an indication that these creatures live best when the water quality it not good.
Each of the kids had an opportunity to take a look at the creatures in the tubs and help identify what category was appropriate. From there they gathered their nets and spread out over the shoreline of the property from the three pier areas.
Among the finds that morning were a few leaches, zebra mussels, shells and a rare find by Millie Shoemaker – a caddisfly brua. The caddisfly is covered with tiny pebbles to help in its protection.
The event began at 9 a.m. and ended at 11 a.m.