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DECATUR — Volunteers on Saturday explored the Sangamon River's wildlife and tested for water quality. 

Melody Arnold, an educator at the Macon County Conservation District, said the volunteers who began their work near the Lincoln Trail Homestead were looking for creatures large and small, including larvae of dragonflies and mayflies, freshwater mussels, fish and turtles.

They also discussed techniques used by the Illinois RiverWatch Network, a volunteer stream monitoring program that aims to turn people into "citizen scientists" who can help report conditions. 

"That’s one way that scientists are able to keep track of what’s happening with our streams without having to go out there themselves," Arnold said. 

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