When leaves fall or are blown into a stream, they often float downstream until they land on a rock within a riffle, or a shallow, fast-flowing area of water. Here, leaves accumulate behind rocks to form natural leaf packs, which provide habitat and a buffet of food year-round for “stream bugs,” or aquatic benthic macroinvertebrates.
In the Leaf Pack Network®, global citizens use artificial leaf packs, or dry leaves in a mesh bag, to replicate the role of natural leaf packs in the stream. These homemade leaf packs are placed in a stream for three to four weeks, during which they become colonized by hungry macroinvertebrates. Participants then quantify the relative abundance and diversity of the creeping, crawling visitors, which act as living indicators of stream health!
Read on to discover NEW Spanish and English resources to purchase for your own leaf pack project, FREE Spanish and English NGSS-aligned lessons and worksheets, and an online portal of water-quality data from around the world!
Discover Resources and Lessons from the NEW Leaf Pack Stream Ecology Kit
The Stroud Center and LaMotte Company are pleased to announce the release of the updated Leaf Pack Stream Ecology Kit, featuring a new dichotomous key, new sorting sheet, updated manual, and a simplified biotic index calculation!
The Leaf Pack Stream Ecology Kit contains everything you need to perform a leaf pack project with a group, including a comprehensive instructor’s manual and all equipment needed for collecting, sorting, and identifying aquatic macroinvertebrates. This totally reusable and flexible suite of resources can be adapted for varying time limits, number of participants, and age levels.
Features of the NEW kit include:
💧 Instructions, sorting sheets, and data sheets in English and Spanish!
💧 New biotic index featuring three color-coded sensitivity groups using a colorblind-friendly palette.
💧 Updated sorting sheet to match the sensitivity groups.
💧 New data portal at MonitorMyWatershed.org (read more below!).
💧 New laminated dichotomous key to follow sensitivity groups.
💧 Updated macroinvertebrate identification flashcards (now including riffle beetles, left- and right-handed snails, and more!).
💧 Updated manual and data sheets, including a new habitat data sheet.
You can view current pricing for the full kit or individual items on LaMotte’s website; please consult the Leaf Pack Network materials list for helpful guidance. To order, call LaMotte at 800-344-3100 (Order Code: 5882). The kit is also available from a number of vendors in the U.S. and Canada.
DON’T MISS OUT ON FREE LEAF PACK NETWORK RESOURCES!
While the Leaf Pack Network is popularly used among adult citizen scientists and watershed professionals, it is also often adapted for upper elementary to high school students. The Leaf Pack Network Manual includes downloadable Spanish and English lessons and student data sheets aligned to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to help creatively teach topics in freshwater-focused environmental science, technology, engineering, and math (E-STEM).
Note: When collecting aquatic macroinvertebrates in Pennsylvania via the Leaf Pack Network or related stream studies, please adhere to PA Fish & Boat Commission regulations, which mandate that all individuals 16 or older collecting aquatic organisms possess a state fishing license and/or a Fishing License Educational Exemption Permit. Collectors outside Pennsylvania should explore the unique regulations for aquatic macroinvertebrate collection in their own region(s).
Explore Global Water-Quality Data on Monitor My Watershed
Sharing is caring! The Monitor My Watershed® data-sharing portal houses Leaf Pack Network® data from watersheds worldwide. The FREE, innovative web app also lets you share and dive into sensor datasets (e.g., turbidity, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, pH, temperature) from EnviroDIY™, a do-it-yourself environmental science and monitoring community. Monitor My Watershed, Leaf Pack Network, and EnviroDIY are all part of the WikiWatershed® Toolkit.
Whether you want to share your own Leaf Pack Network data with the world, or simply wish to explore water-quality data worldwide in a few mouse clicks, begin exploring Monitor My Watershed today.
TRY IT OUT!
You do NOT need to register or log in to browse data on Monitor My Watershed. From the comfort of your own home computer…
- Click on “Browse Sites” in the Monitor My Watershed main menu.
- In the “Browse Data Collection Sites” sidebar, under “Data Types,” check the “Leaf Pack” box.
- Click on a map marker and then on the “View data for this site” link.
- Scroll down to the “Macroinvertebrate Data at this Site” section.
- Click the “View Details” link for the data you’d like to view.
- While you’re at it, toggle the other preferences to view data in your home watershed and/or worldwide from both the Leaf Pack Network and EnviroDIY!
SHARE YOUR LEAF PACK DATA WITH THE WORLD!
Learn more about NEW and improved Leaf Pack Network features on Monitor My Watershed, as well as how to share your own leaf pack data. Having trouble sharing or exploring data? Visit Monitor My Watershed’s Leaf Pack Network Data Help page and EnviroDIY Data Help page.