Audubon Naturalist Society (ANS) Launches New Creek Critters Smartphone App with Streamside Creek Week Events June 6-14, 2015

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Audubon Naturalist Society (ANS) officially launches its new Creek Critters smartphone app with a series of streamside events co-hosted by a network of partner groups around the region during Creek Week, June 6 – 14, 2015.

ANS Creek Critters Screen Shot

Audubon Naturalist Society Creek Critters Smartphone App

“We’re harnessing smartphone technology to get people involved in protecting their local streams,” said ANS Executive Director Lisa Alexander.

Audubon Naturalist Society (ANS) officially launches its new Creek Critters smartphone app with a series of streamside events co-hosted by a network of partner groups around the region during Creek Week, June 6 – 14, 2015.

“We’re harnessing smartphone technology to get people involved in protecting their local streams,” said ANS Executive Director Lisa Alexander. “Thanks to the generosity of a long-standing ANS supporter and Carfax president Dick Raines and the Raines Family Fund, this Creek Critters app will engage more citizen scientists in learning about stream health and protecting clean water in the DC region.”

The new Creek Critters app is an easy way of engaging people in water quality monitoring and protecting local streams using smartphones. The app shows users how to find the small organisms that live in freshwater streams and can tell us how clean the water is. The Creek Critters app walks users through identifying these benthic macroinvertebrates, or creek critters, by giving them visual cues: Does it have a shell? Does it look like a worm? The app provides line drawings, photos, video and captions to illustrate critter characteristics and their tolerance to pollution. A Stream Health Report is generated based on the critters the app user finds. Every Stream Health report is added to a map of stream health in the DC metro region.

Since the early 1990s, ANS has operated a volunteer Water Quality Monitoring program throughout Montgomery County and in parts of DC. It is one of the largest and longest-running citizen science programs in the country. More than 193 ANS volunteers gather data on the water quality of 29 local streams in the DC metro region. Many of those trained citizen scientists will be at Creek Week events.

“It’s hard to point to a single ‘coolest thing’ about the app, but I think it is really cool that novices can successfully use a smartphone app to collect and identify common stream macroinvertebrates – and in the process, create stream health reports and submit and share their data,” said Gregg Trilling, ANS Environmental Education program manager.

For a little more than two years the Creek Critters app has gone through several cycles of development, field trials, and revisions. During Creek Week, ANS hopes to engage hundreds of people throughout the region in Creek Critters events that help them explore and learn about their neighborhood streams.

Creek Week Events Listings
Saturday, June 6, 2015
Creek Critters Family Pond Program
10:30 am to 11:30 am
Audubon Naturalist Society, Woodend Nature Sanctuary
Meet at gazebo by main house
8940 Jones Mill Road
Chevy Chase, Maryland

Rock Creek Conservancy Creek Critters Blitz
10:00 am to 12:00 noon
Joseph’s Branch section of Rock Creek
Trailhead at Dewey Road and Dewey Ct.
Kensington, Maryland

Neighbors of Northwest Branch Creek Critters Blitz
9:30 am to 12:00 noon
Northwest Branch
Wheaton, Maryland

Saturday, June 13, 2015
Audubon Naturalist Society’s Rachel Carson Conservation Park Creek Critters Blitz
1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Rachel Carson Conservation Park
22201 Zion Road
Brookeville, Maryland

Little Falls Watershed Alliance: Who is Living in the Creek? Creek Critters Blitz
10:00 am to 12:00 noon
Little Falls
Intersection of Little Falls Parkway and Massachusetts Avenue
Bethesda, Maryland

Rock Creek Conservancy Creek Critters Blitz
10:00 am to 12:00 noon
Ray’s Meadow
2901 East-West Highway
Chevy Chase, Maryland

Groundwork Anacostia Creek Critters Blitz
11:00 am to 1:00 pm
Watt’s Branch
Washington, DC

Friends of Accotink Creek: Biological Monitoring and Creek Critters Blitz
9:30 am to 11:30am
Lake Accotink Park
7500 Lake Accotink Road
Parking lot behind the Lake Accotink Park Administrative Building
Springfield, Virginia

Fairfax County Parks South Run RECenter: Creek Critters Blitz
10:00 am to 12:00 noon
South Run RECenter
7550 Reservation Drive
Springfield, Virginia

Sunday, June 14, 2015
Fairfax County Scott’s Run Nature Preserve: Creek Critters Blitz
2:00 pm to 4:00pm
Scott’s Run Nature Preserve
7400 Georgetown Pike
McLean, Virginia

Rock Creek Hills Citizen’s Association: Creek Critters Blitz
10:30 am to 12:30 pm
Silver Creek/Kensington Branch
Meet at the intersection of Saul Road and Kensington Parkway
Kensington, Maryland

To register for Creek Week events, visit anshome.org. Download the Creek Critters app for free from the Apple App Store for iPhone users or Google Play for Android devices.

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Leslie McDermott
Audubon Naturalist Society
+1 (301) 652-9188 Ext: 45
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Kelli Holsendolph
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