Recently, Rebecca Shoer, the mid-Atlantic Save Our Steams Coordinator (Izaak Walton League of America) interviewed me about how and why I am a stream sampler, and she posted the story below on @saveourstreams Instagram page:
🎉 We’re celebrating #WorldWaterMonitoringDay by sharing stories about our volunteer monitors all month! Lisa (right) got her start in clean water while pursuing her Master’s degree in wetlands research. She fell in love with wetlands and exploring local waterways. After completing her research, she moved to Texas and then Virginia to work with wetlands. She met Virginia Save Our Streams monitors Steve and Wendy Richards in 1999, got certified, and has been monitoring ever since!
Educating young people has always been a passion of Lisa’s. She has taught as a naturalist at Boxerwood Nature Center in Rockbridge County and even brought her own kids along to stream monitoring sessions. Her daughter Mauri (left) is now a certified monitor, too! More recently, Lisa has pursued her love of writing by writing children’s nature books, including Milkweed Matters, Oliver’s Otter Phase, and, most recently, The Hidden Life in Streams! You can follow Lisa @connors.halcyon.
Our stream monitors do more than collect critical stream health data: they’ve built a clean water community across the country! By educating their communities and advocating for local streams, our monitors are working to protect our country’s waterways. Ready to join us? Visit www.iwla.org/sos to find out how to get started.
I still remember the epiphany I had one day in 2017 that I should write a book about macroinvertebrates. I was a citizen monitor, I love to inspire children to learn and care for the natural world and I’d only once seen a book about macroinvertebrates for children (about mayflies). I never intended to self-publish it, let alone illustrate it myself, but something happened where I needed to self-publish and then, due to time and costs, illustrate also. It’s not exactly what I had in mind when I wrote it, but that is never the case with picture books. We have to leave room for editors, illustrators and readers when we write. It is our manuscript, but not our book. In some ways, this was a scary step to take in my growth as a writer/creator. But I believe the process is just as important as the product – and chances need to be taken to grow. I’ve made mistakes along the way, learning by doing. In many ways, I am not the same person I was in 2017 anyway, so in a sense I did leave room for the editor and illustrator to come in and add her ideas. The Hidden Life in Steams was an important step toward my next goal – to illustrate a book with my watercolors (as opposed to photos) – stay tuned for a book about oysters and their important roles in our bays and estuaries.