These conditions can make for some interesting winter bug collections, which are happening right now all over the state. During that week I mentioned a moment ago, I was in Tahlequah doing a bug collection on Town Branch Creek on the frigid Tuesday, when our weather app noted a “real feel” temperature of zero degrees. The creek was flowing, though, and had no ice, so volunteer Jahna Hill (pictured at right) and I got in there and did three good bug kicks into our net, which froze solid after the third and final kick. As soon as we were done, Jahna completed most of her quality assurance session in the warmth of her pickup truck.
Jahna and I were certainly not alone in our chilly experience. Our new volunteer David Mayes made his first visit with Kim to Hog Creek, a few miles south of Choctaw, in below freezing temperatures. Temps were a bit better, at least above freezing, when Kim visited the creek she monitors with her mom, Crutcho Creek, under Interstate 40 in Del City. At another end of Crutcho Creek, Karen Pryor, daughter Katie, and friend Ava McCaffrey were bundled up in winter clothes when they monitored and picked up trash on a cold day at their site. Volunteers Chase Iddings and Makenna Hakill are more brand new volunteers, having just completed a training a few weeks ago. For their first visit to a creek and bug collection, they were bundled up against the cold at Rock Creek, where the pools were completely iced over. Lightning Creek was also frozen over, and had basically been turned into a lake, making a bug collection impossible.
Not to be left out, Candice has also been making visits to creeks with hardy volunteers willing to get in the water and kick for bugs no matter the temperature. Her volunteers at Stillwater Creek at Babcock Park, in Stillwater, arrived at the creek at 8:00am, ready to go in temperatures so cold that Candice’s camera didn’t work. Some of our youngest volunteers have been the bravest about getting in their creek in the cold, including students from the Oklahoma School of Innovation and Experiential Learning in Bixby and students from the town of Hogden, who collected bugs in the Black Fork of the Poteau River in the southeast part of the state. Interestingly, Candice has also been seeing lots of problems with low flow at her creeks. During one of her recent collection days in Tulsa, only half of the streams got bug collections due to the low flow conditions. The situation is pretty drastic in some of these creeks, like the completely dry Cotton Creek in Nowata County, pictured below.
Visit our Facebook page for lots more great photos of all of these frigid winter bug collections.
And many thanks to all of the volunteers who participated in them!!