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Our traveling Macroinvertebrate Educational Trunk is now available for educators of all kinds. This trunk contains lesson plans and all of the necessary supplies for three separate activities focusing on aquatic benthic macroinvertebrates. This trunk was created collaboratively between the Gallatin Conservation District and Montana Conservation Corps and was funded in part by the Soil and Water Conservation Districts of Montana, the MT Department of Environmental Quality, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Macro Trunk                Macro Trunk Lessons               Macro Trunk Inside


Benthic macroinvertebrates are animals without a backbone that can be seen with the naked eye and have the ability to cling to aquatic bottom surfaces such as rocks, leaves, or roots. They include crustaceans, mollusks, and annelids, but in many aquatic environments most of the macroinvertebrate communities are the larvae of aquatic insects. These communities are important links in the food web between producers (leaves, algae) and higher consumers such as fish. They also serve as key indicators of water health in all bodies of water. This traveling educational trunk created in collaboration between the Gallatin Conservation District and Montana Conservation Corps provides tools and lessons to connect Gallatin County students to Montana’s waters and aquatic macroinvertebrate populations in a stimulating and tangible format. This trunk can be used throughout Gallatin County for youth & community outreach and educational opportunities.

Lessons from the trunk:

macro dressupMacroinvertebrate Adaptations: This lesson plan was adapted from the Utah State Water Quality Extension and coloring pages were copied from “Bugs Don’t Bug Me!” coloring book from the Utah State Water Quality Extension. Students will learn about what macroinvertebrates are and will gain a better understanding of macroinvertebrate adaptations that allow them to live in our waters in a hands-on way by crafting and coloring macroinvertebrates and dressing up as them. 

Macroinvertebrates: Indicators for Water Health: This lesson plan was adapted from Project Wet. Students will learn about healthy water systems, how macroinvertebrates act as indicators of water health, and about the environmental stressors that can impact our waters by playing a tagging game. 

Macroinvertebrates: Investigating Your Waters Health: This lesson was adapted from Project Wet. Students will identify and learn about macroinvertebrates in their local water system by observing and identifying them using dichotomous keys.

observing macros


Please contact Sydney Lyons or 406-282-4350 for questions or to request the trunk. The trunk can be rented out or GCD staff can be available for events to help run the activities. You can find the lesson plans and Macroinvertebrate information in the link below:

Macroinvertebrate Educational Trunk Overview and Lesson Plans

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