Mountain Mayflies

The Mountain Mayflies is Aurora Lights’ youth activist group that focuses on learning about the effects of extractive industries on our public lands while spreading awareness about these issues and how we can protect our public forests. Students learn forest and stream ecology while advocating for the protection of our forests. The Mayflies are the last step in our 3 step process of stewardship: responsibility for self, responsibility for others, then responsibility for the community. The Mayflies participate in a bi-weekly afterschool program and spend most of their time within the Coopers Rock State Forest.

The Mountain Mayflies will return for the Spring 2017 semester!

During the Spring 2015 semester, the Mayflies collected stream insect data at Coopers Rock State Forest while learning about stream ecology and planted Red Spruce trees in Canaan Valley while learning about forest ecology. The class concluded on Saturday, May 16, when the Mayflies accompanied Mountain SOL staff on a trip to Kanawha State Forest and Kayford Mountain to discuss mountaintop removal mining and the impacts it will have on Kanawha State Forest and the surrounding area. The Mayflies’ field trip was made possible by a generous donation through the Clif Bar Family Foundation. Learn more about the Mayflies’ field trip here.
In Fall 2015, the Mayflies discovered more about the specific forest ecology of Coopers Rock State Forest, and created personal essays and a video on why forests are important to them.

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The first step in being a well-educated advocate is to learn about the cause-and-effect of the issue at hand. Watch a video the Mayflies created about assessing water quality in Coopers Rock State Forest:

Would your child be interested in joining the Mountain Mayflies?

– The afterschool program meets at Morgantown Learning Academy but is open to all students (public and homeschool as well!) 4th grade and up.  The Mountain Mayflies will return for the Spring 2017 semester.

– Questions? Email Mayflies Mentor, Hannah Spencer, at [email protected]

– To enroll your child, click here.

Why are we called the Mountain Mayflies?

The Mountain Mayflies are the youth group for Aurora Lights’ Not In My Forests (NIMF) program.  One special thing about that program’s name is its resemblance to “nymph,” the immature stage of many benthic macroinvertebrates (i.e., stream-dwelling invertebrates), including the mayfly.  Scientists sample macroinvertebrates to assess the health of the streams.  These bioindicators (meaning they are indicators of a stream’s biological health) allow humans to quickly determine whether or not there is something wrong with a particular stream.  Because mayflies have a low tolerance for many forms of pollution, their presence typically indicates that a stream is healthy. Our Mountain Mayflies (youth ages 10+) have come to three areas in West Virginia that have significant ecological, economic, and cultural significance.  Their presence is a testament to the current health of these areas. Visit the Mayflies page on the NIMF website here.