Our River Heroes
Unlike our senior staff, our volunteers, our river heroes, do not get to attend the one hundred dollar a plate fundraises. They don't sip fine wine and single malt scotches from the comfort of a plush lounge at a conference center far from home. They don't attend monthly meetings in stuffy buildings far from the river where talk is long and action is short. In fact they don't say much at all. They ask for little and receive far less than that. They don't know or recognize river names or the names of places along the river, they know no political parties, by the standards of most they know nothing at all. However, the careful observer who spends time with them, in their element will come away better equipped to advocate for them and their environment.
The Caddis Fly
Caddis Fly Biography
Above is our first group of river heroes, a snapshot of some of our more recognizable aquatic insects. Their presence or lack thereof in a river or stream tells us something about the overall health of that waterway. They are also the building blocks upon which, many other creatures depend. Consider the mayfly for a moment.
Up on the Kennebec last summer my brother and I sat on the river bank with my son between us watching a spectacular show. Thousands of big cream-colored mayflies were hovering over the river, dipping down gently to lay their eggs on the surface. Dragonflies raced through their ranks like miniature fighter jets seizing the hapless mayflies in midair. The dragonflies would then hover for a moment to eat the body, leaving only the mayflies wings to flutter down to the surface. All across the river mayfly wings fluttered down to the surface like cherry blossom petals in a gentle breeze. It was a display of aerial acrobatics and flight engineering that would make Chuck Yeager envious. In the water below another group of the rivers creatures were feasting this afternoon. Fish of all sorts were dimpling the surface to sip the mayflies as they laid their eggs, sunfish, trout, bass, baby shad and baby herring. The following morning as the sun rose the dragonfliesí acrobatics were nearly equaled by flocks of swallows swooping and darting threw the clouds of mayflies floating over the river. The presence of a simple insect in its natural abundance caused a whole magnificent drama to unfold in front of us. Why don't we see these same spectacles on our river, the Taunton? We should.