'Stream Teams' give environment regular check-ups


March 16, 1998|By Sally Voris | Sally Voris,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

ONCE A MONTH, Ellicott City resident Barb Langridge and her husband go on a special date.

They drive to a site near the Turf Valley Resort & Conference Center, climb out of their car, walk about 100 yards and head down an embankment to a stream.

The Langridges are Stream Team volunteers for Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks. And their date is a standing appointment with the environment every month from April to October.

For the past three years, they have been testing water quality in the Little Patuxent River near the Turf Valley club.

The Department of Recreation and Parks trains approximately 100 volunteers to monitor some 60 streams each year.

A minimum of two team members are assigned to each site. The team is issued a boat, a seine net and a water monitoring kit.

The seine net, which has sinkers on one edge and floats tied to the other, hangs vertically in the water.

While one team member holds the net, the other kicks pebbles and pokes toes into the mud to loosening macroinvertebrates off the rocks. The small animals without backbones that are dislodged collect in the seine net.

The team uses tweezers to put the critters -- often immature insects, sometimes worms, snails, crawfish or crawdads -- into a small laboratory, or petri, dish.

After counting the different types of macroinvertebrates, the team tallies the results and releases the critters back into the stream.

The whole process takes an hour or two. The greater the variety of macroinvertebrates in the water, the healthier the stream.

Barb Langridge says, "We've had some of the most magical moments -- seeing a deer drink in the stream at noon, or rousting a great blue heron."

Louise Harris, another Stream Team volunteer who became involved in the program because of her concern for the environment, began monitoring Deep Run, a stream close to her home in the Elkridge area, five years ago.

"At first, the stream was of low to fair quality; now it is medium to high," she says.

Harris attributes the improvement to less construction in the area and corrective measures upstream.

Seasoned Stream Team volunteers from Ellicott City include Richard Babcock; Jim, Sean and Amy Gossard; Jeannie and Lindsey Hieb; Jim and Lisa Kouroupis; Victoria Kuntz; Ellen and Nathan Rennels; Mark Richmond; Robert Simpson and Rose Smiley.

Sue Muller, who coordinates the program for the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks, is seeking more volunteers.

Interested neighbors can choose to attend one of three two-hour training sessions next month.

Information: 410-313-4697.

Dance team

The dance team from Elkridge Landing Middle School participated in the Howard County Dance Festival Feb. 28 at Oakland Mills High School in Columbia.

It was the only middle-school team to participate.

Teachers Carol Jones and Kathy Parrish trained the team.

Eighth-graders Tanea Shaw, Meghan Sanders, Allison Weal, Kristi Williams, Amy Wood and Dawn Worley choreographed and performed a jazz number to the theme from the movie, "Men in Black."

Other members of the team who performed are Lindsey Burke, Christina Critchfield, Michele Giuliano, Stacie Merritt, Samantha Mrozinski, Jennifer Oursler, Sterling Pack, Pam Peliak, Michelle Rivera, Erinn Robinson, Kristina Russell and Valerie Sampogna.

Jumping with heart

Elkridge Landing Middle School students raised more than $3,800 for the American Heart Association recently by jumping in a Jump Rope for Heart event Feb. 13.

Students who recruited the most pledges were James Fox, Amy Vannurdan, Jessica Trado, Kira Lewis and Tasha Murchison.

Kelly Reidy jumped for eight minutes and 13 seconds to win the endurance jump.

Pennies mount up

Students at Rockburn Elementary School raised $2,152.68 in the Leukemia Society's "Pasta for Pennies" campaign.

Pasta for Pennies is co-sponsored by the Olive Garden Restaurant and neighborhood schools.

For three weeks, students and teachers collected spare change to help fund research for a cure for leukemia.

Ann Bradley's fifth-grade class raised the most money. They will receive a free spaghetti luncheon from the Olive Garden.

Kelly Glenn's second-grade class and Bonnie Nagel's fourth-grade class placed second and third in the penny-tally.

Outstanding students

Henri Chen, a graduating senior at Centennial High School, has been selected as a candidate in the 1998 Presidential Scholars Program.

He is one of approximately 2,600 candidates chosen on the basis of scores he achieved on a national test .

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars will choose 500 semifinalists later this month. The U.S. Department of Education will announce the final selection of scholars in May.

The award is one of the highest honors bestowed upon graduating high school seniors.

A student of the arts from our community has also been honored.

Laura O'Brien-Place, a student at Howard High School, has been invited to become an apprentice in the 1998 session of the Broadway Theater Project at the University of South Florida.

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