Mt. Blue students scour Sandy River for flies, larvae

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Mt. Blue Middle School eighth-graders venture Thursday morning into the Sandy River in Farmington to identify and count insect nymphs and larvae. The results of their research might indicate how agricultural runoff is affecting the river, according to teacher Greg Veayo. (Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal)

FARMINGTON — Eighth-graders from Mt. Blue Middle School waded into the Sandy River on Thursday looking for insect nymphs and larvae to see if agricultural runoff has increased their numbers.

Taking a steep trail under Center Bridge and down to the water, students began their search with instructor Greg Veayo, while a few stayed on the banks with adults.

Picking up rocks from the river bottom, they checked under them for insects and larvae, identified and counted them. It was all part of their science and social studies lessons.

As all of this was happening, Veayo pointed to a bald eagle soaring overhead.

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“We are identifying insect nymphs and larvae, such as caddisflies, dragonflies, stoneflies and many flies that live in the water before they become adult flying insects,” Veayo said.

Next week, the students plan to go to the Sandy River bridge in Farmington Falls to do a similar research.

“We’ll do this to determine if the agricultural runoff that happens through erosion on the farmland between the two bridges plays a role in changing the populations of these nymphs and larvae,” Veayo said.

Agricultural runoff contains fertilizer, which can provide food and shelter for some of these species. If that happens, their population increases and they take more shelter or space on the bottom of the river, he said. 

“We’ll find out next week,” Veayo said.

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Mt. Blue Middle School teacher Greg Veayo, third from left, gives instructions to eighth-graders Thursday morning as they identify and count insect nymphs and larvae in the Sandy River, near Center Bridge in Farmington. (Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal)

 

Mt. Blue Middle School eighth-graders stand in Sandy River in Farmington on Thursday morning looking for insect nymphs and larvae. The results of their research might indicate how agricultural runoff is affecting the river, according to teacher Greg Veayo. (Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal)

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