Wildlife Monitoring with our community partners

We have been doing community science with individuals who have an interest in the creek since 2011. This program has typically drawn several hundred volunteers each year, shedding insight on locations and abundance of wildlife including salmon, lamprey, dragonflies, beaver, and birds. We have found unique species never before found in the watershed, and we’ve found early records as well, as climate change affects environmental conditions triggering maturation of various species.

We don’t just work with individuals, though. Community partners with a vested interest in wildlife surveys and STEAM education at the African Youth and Community Organization (AYCO), Wisdom of the Elders, and The Blueprint Foundation have been involved every step of the way with monitoring on the Leach Back 5 project. In this project, we are observing the restoration site thorough plant transects, amphibian, and macro surveys among other methods! And whenever we can, we explore wildlife outside of the Leach Botanical Garden too!

Here are some recaps of our time together this year in community science with our partners.


We found mayflies, snails and worms here at low water at the end of summer. Looking forward to continuing to check back to see what critters visit this stretch of creek throughout the year!

Findings: mostly pollution tolerant species but the mayflies can be one of the 3 key indicators of healthy streams. Mayflies, caddisflies and stoneflies are the big 3, also known as EPT. (Ephemeroptera (mayflies), Plecoptera (stoneflies), and Trichoptera (caddisflies).

One of the Blueprint Foundation’s oldest students (and now mentor) with the youngest and newest youth capturing Aquatic insects at Leach Botanical Garden.
You can’t tell from here but when you zoom in on that white bucket, you can see how these two got the motherload of aquatic insect samples to identify!!!

BEAVER 8/28/2021

Excited to share out our first 2021 Beaver Survey data! The Blueprint Foundation surveyed Foster Floodplain Natural Area and observed 8 dams, 1 beaver chew and 1 beaver slide. This is great news and indicates a high beaver presence at Foster Floodplain.

This year we are unable to have public volunteers join in on Beaver Surveys due to some public land restriction use during COVID but we will still share out staff and partner organizations data.


Blueprint and AYCO students got together to survey for dragonflies at Centennial Pond. We started off the day by assembling new nets for all the students needing nets at once (very unusual for our typical survey structure), and learning a little bit about dragonflies, that they rely on wetlands due to their aquatic nymphal life stage, that our watershed is home to 3/5 of the migratory dragonflies of North America, and how SOME dragonflies are known to migrate (up to 11,000 miles from India to Mozambique)!

Then we grabbed our nets and set off for adventure! Many specimens were caught and handled, and we found both damselflies as well as dragonflies. It was an abundant day in the wetland!

Beautiful blue eyed darner catch! Look at that face!
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