Audubon Naturalist Society (ANS) Launches New Creek Critters Smartphone App

CHEVY CHASE, MD – Audubon Naturalist Society (ANS) officially launches its new Creek Critters smartphone app with a series of streamside events around the region hosted by a network of local partners—Creek Week, June 6 – 14, 2015.

“We’re harnessing smartphone technology to get people involved in protecting their local streams,” said ANS Executive Director Lisa Alexander. “Thanks to the generosity of a long-standing ANS supporter – Dick Raines and the Raines Family Fund, this Creek Critters app will engage more citizen scientists in learning about stream health.”

The new Creek Critters app is an easy way of engaging people in water quality monitoring and protecting local streams using smartphones. The app shows users how to find the small organisms that live in freshwater streams. It walks users through identifying these benthic macroinvertebrates, or creek critters, through a series of visual cues: Does it have a shell? Does it look like a worm? The app provides line drawings, photos, captions and other features to illustrate characteristics, other “easily confused with” critters and tolerance to pollution. A Stream Health Report is generated based on the user’s findings, and the report is added to a map once the user submits the data.

Since the early 1990s, ANS has operated a Water Quality Monitoring program throughout Montgomery County and in parts of DC. It is one of the largest and longest-running citizen science programs in the country. More than 193 ANS volunteers gather data on the water quality of 29 local streams in the DC metro region. “It’s hard to point to a single ‘coolest thing’ about the app, but I think it is really cool that novices can successfully use a smartphone app to collect and identify common stream macroinvertebrates – and in the process, create stream health reports and submit and share their data,” said Gregg Trilling, ANS Environmental Education program manager. For a little more than two years the Creek Critters app has gone through several cycles of development, field trials, and revisions.  During Creek Week, ANS hopes to engage hundreds of people throughout the region in “Creek Critters” events that help them explore and learn about their neighborhood streams. 

Creek Week Events Listings 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Creek Critters Family Pond Program 10:30 am to 11:30 am

Audubon Naturalist Society, Woodend Nature Sanctuary 8940 Jones Mill Road Chevy Chase, Maryland Rock

Creek Conservancy Creek Critters Blitz 10:00 am to 12:00 noon

Joseph’s Branch section of Rock Creek Closest physical address 11229 Dewey Road Kensington, Maryland Neighbors of Northwest Branch

Creek Critters Blitz 9:30 am to 12:00 noon

Northwest Branch Wheaton, Maryland Saturday, June 13, 2015 Audubon Naturalist Society’s Rachel Carson Conservation Park

Creek Critters Blitz 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm

Rachel Carson Conservation Park Brookeville, Maryland

Little Falls Watershed Alliance:  Who is Living in the Creek? Creek Critters Blitz 10:00 am to 12:00 noon

Little Falls Intersection of Little Falls Parkway and Massachusetts Avenue Bethesda, Maryland Rock

Creek Conservancy Creek Critters Blitz 10:00 am to 12:00 noon

Ray’s Meadow Chevy Chase, Maryland

Groundwork Anacostia Creek Critters Blitz 11:00 am to 1:00 pm

Watts Branch Washington, DC

Friends of Accotink Creek:  Biological Monitoring and Creek Critters Blitz 9:30 am to 11:30am

Lake Accotink Park Parking lot behind the Lake Accotink Park Administrative Building Springfield, Virginia Fairfax County Parks

South Run RECenter: Creek Critters Blitz 10:00 am to 12:00 noon

South Run RECenter Springfield, Virginia Sunday, June 14, 2015 Fairfax County

Scott’s Run Nature Preserve: Creek Critters Blitz 2:00 pm to 4:00pm

Scott’s Run Nature Preserve McLean, Virginia

Rock Creek Hills Citizen’s Association: Creek Critters Blitz 10:30 am to 12:30 pm

Silver Creek/Kensington Branch Kensington, Maryland

To register for Creek Week events, visit

Download the Creek Critters app for FREE from the Apple App Store for iPhone users or Google Play for Android devices.


CONTACT: Leslie McDermott, Communications Manager, Audubon Naturalist Society, 301-652-9188 ext. 45, [email protected]