Danelle spends a lot of time volunteering with the Missouri Stream Team. She started with them in college doing water quality monitoring. Now she helps with a variety of things, including planning and attending river clean-ups, doing water monitoring with River des Peres Watershed Coalition during Bike With Your Boots On, and being on the board of Stream Teams United. She recently became one of the first START mentors – a group of trained monitors who help newly trained monitors gain confidence and experience. As a ‘thank you’ for signing up, the Stream Team organized a special guided hike of the LaBarque Creek Conservation Area with Mike Leahy, Natural Areas Coordinator with MDC.
A tiny snake met us as we started up the path into the conservation area. While it looks big in the photo, its head was less than a half inch wide.
Spring flowers were just coming out, including these Dutchmen’s breeches.
Mike described the unique sandstone geology of the area and how that made it different from most other nearby streams which are in limestone geology.
There are many interesting rock formations in the conservation area, including places like this where the stream flows through a hole in a large rock down into a cavernous grotto.
Our new mentor team enjoyed wearing the bright yellow vests to keep track of each other.
More new spring flowers, this time rue anemone (above) and yellow bellwort (below).
Karen took the opportunity at a brief rest stop to tell us a bit about her knowledge of the region.
Spring wildflowers weren’t the only new growth. These fiddle-heads would soon become fern fronds.
We all enjoyed the opportunity to have an inside look at one of the newest and most unique conservation areas in the St. Louis region.
Bike With Your Boots On is a bicycle event that stops along Grant’s Trail taking water quality measurements along the way. Its a nice way to get exercise and get a better understanding of a local stream.
We started out in a parking lot meeting together and splitting into groups so we could go faster.
It didn’t take long and were heading down the trail to do our monitoring. The family happily ahead of me. I was a bit slower on a unicycle.
Here we are doing some monitoring.
After we finished up, we headed to a nice picnic to celebrate our work. Check out the video Danelle made about the event!
Our family (mostly Danelle) is involved in Missouri Stream Team. Danelle tends to act more on the organizational and science side of Stream Team. This means running meetings and performing monitoring. The other side of Stream Team is the cleanup side. There are a dedicated group of people that go out many weekends each year to remove trash to keep our streams and rivers clean. This is one of the few actual cleanups that we get to. Danelle and Sonora went out first while I went to Corvin’s soccer game. Later, Corvin and I went out and helped with the last half.
The photos above give a view into the amount of trash that comes out from cleanups. An amazing amount of tires are found at every cleanup, its quite sad. Thanks to the people doing the cleanups! We were honored to be part of your group on this Saturday!
The last weekend in July is the annual Stream Team picnic. We have been going for several years and the kids are quite fond of it. The activities keep the kids happy. Our family tends to do well in the canoe races and gets too many trophies.
If that were not enough, the raffle is always fun. The kids are always excited to pick out a prize for themselves.
It is topped off with tube floating down the Meramec river. I choose to drive shuttle this year.
We met around 9 am in the morning for this cleanup. I believe it was an event organized by the River Des Peres Watershed Coalition. It had been planned a few months out and had a fair number of volunteers.
The area in the black rectangle was the focus of our work. Map by Google
At the start, the group was splitting into two. First, a group of people that were set to get very dirty to go down into the creek. There was trash and tires to find and remove. Corvin and Danelle went to this group.
The second group was for people that were not quite ready to get that dirty, that is where Sonora and I ended up along with about 10 high school girls getting service hours. We headed into a small clearing next to a construction site. There we waded ankle deep into trash that was mostly bottles and cups.
Cleaning up was hard work that required a break half way through. We sat on railroad tracks. Lucky for us, the railroad shut down the tracks for the duration of the cleanup!
Once all the cups were picked up, there were tons of Styrofoam packing peanuts on the ground. Many of us ended up sitting down on the ground and picking them up. It was hard gross work, but the site is significantly improved due to our efforts.
While we were working hard, Corvin found Eric and rode around like a boss with a big smile on his face!