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Master Naturalists: Texas Stream Team hosts Meeting of Monitors

Sept. 1, 2011 at 4:01 a.m.

The 2011 Meeting of the Monitors, which will feature many citizen scientist training and professional development opportunities, will take place Sept. 29-Oct. 1 at the Hilton Houston NASA Clear Lake.  Training will be Oct. 30.

Japanese fish painting

Gyotaku - a traditional form of Japanese fish printing - dates from the mid-19th century. Fishermen used this print-making to record their catches. There are two methods used in gyotaku. The direct approach is the better way to do gyotaku. To make a gyotaku print, one places the subject (fish, crab, scallop shell) on a wooden bench and paints one side with sumi ink. Then, special acid-free paper or fabric is carefully pressed on to the fish, and when it's lifted, a detailed mirror-image fish print is revealed. Sometimes, rubber fish replicas are used. Gyotaku is also practiced as an art form, and is very popular among young children both in Japan and Western countries.

Detect pollution in your waterways

Monitors will learn chemical analyses to test water for turbidity, the major components of fertilizers and fecal matter, to determine water body suitability for use by humans and wildlife. Streamflow monitoring techniques will also be demonstrated. Participants willing to monitor will receive certification under a U.S. EPA-approved Quality Assurance Project Plan. Monitoring equipment and supplies will be issued to participants who are willing to continue monitoring.

By Paul and Mary Meredith

The Texas Stream Team gathers information about Texas' natural resources, information agencies need to make environmentally sound decisions to protect our resources and promote a healthy and safe environment.

Lakes, rivers and creeks are drying up with our current weather. The Stream Team is concerned about our water quality. Its trained monitors produce quality information for improving decisions about that dwindling supply.

On Oct. 1, the Texas Stream Team and the Houston-Galveston Area Council will host an annual Meeting of the Monitors. Water-monitoring training and five other sessions will be offered to concerned people. All six are open to current monitors and the public. Registration is required. Go to txstreamteam.rivers.txstate.edu/mom to register.

NONPOINT SOURCE POLLUTION TRAINING

Participants will learn how to use chemical analysis to test for turbidity and major constituents of fertilizers and fecal matter to determine a body of water's suitability for use by humans and wildlife. Monitoring techniques will be demonstrated. Participants willing to be monitors will be issued monitoring equipment and supplies for continued monitoring.

HOUSTON-AREA INVADERS

Invaders of Texas will help participants learn how to find and identify Houston-area invasive species - plants, animals, insects and pathogens - posing threats to Texas's natural resources. Volunteers will enter their observation of any invasive in the Texas Invasives data base for agencies and volunteers dealing with the increasing problems of invasives to use.

ENVIROSCAPE WATERSHED MODEL WORKSHOP

Participants will learn about the Enviroscape Watershed Model, which demonstrates effects of nonpoint source pollution on watersheds. It's useful for both children and adults, and is available for long-term loan from Texas Stream Team. So, it can be used in educational curriculums.

MUSSEL WATCH TRAINING

Participants will learn how to identify freshwater mussels and their history and biology. Freshwater mussels are an integral, and highly endangered, component of aquatic ecosystems. They are indicators (bellwethers) for assessing freshwater system health. Some species indicate healthy aquatic ecosystems. But others have devastating negative effects on our natural resources - water, and much, much more.

TIDAL STREAM MACROINVERTEBRATE IDENTIFICATION

Participants will learn how to identify macroinvertebrates - such as mussels, snails, larva of dragon flies, caddis flies and dobson flies, to name a few - to determine the quality of tidal water bodies based on the relative abundance of each species. Information about tidal stream ecology and known stressors will also be included in the session.

SOMETHING FISHY! A FISHERIES IDENTIFICATION WORKSHOP

This is a hands-on, fun (and fragrant) workshop. Participants will learn about fish growling or whistling - two adaptations of animals inhabiting Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. They'll dissect fish, learn how to identify characteristics of their ecosystem, how to choose fresh seafood, and how to do gyotaku - a traditional form of Japanese fish printing. Participants who take a T-shirt or apron with them can even make their own gyotaku print.

Paul and Mary Meredith are master naturalists. Contact them at paulmary0211@sbcglobal.net.

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