What’s Lurking in Europe’s Freshwater?

KT's sampling data for ASC Microplastics. (Photo by KT Miller)
Cowgirl boots and KT’s sampling data for ASC Microplastics (Photo by KT Miller)

By Kt Miller, ASC Microplastics Adventurer

As Mose drove, I could see a large stream running along the side of the road on the way to the airport in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia.

“When you see a good spot, can we pull over and get another water sample from that stream?” I asked.

“Yeah, but I know a better place,” Mose said with a half smile. He turned off the highway and zipped through a maze of narrow streets in a small village.

I had spent the previous two weeks skiing in Slovenia and Italy with my friends Brigid Mander, Molly Baker, and Liza Sarychevski. We met Mose, also a skier, along the way. When Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation told me about its new Freshwater Microplastics Project, I was thrilled to collect some of the first samples during our trip. The project mobilizes outdoor adventurers to help collect and share water samples during their travels.

We passed quickly through the town and into the mountains. Gravity pulled me side to side in a sway as Mose drove up and up a winding forest road. Europeans like to drive fast.

The road became bumpy, and Mose dodged potholes and a fallen tree. After about ten minutes, we came to a stop. It was pouring rain. I mean really pouring.

Mose pointed out the passenger’s window on the right. A perfect waterfall cascaded down from the mountains 60 feet above us.

"People say this is the most beautiful waterfall in Slovenia." (Photo courtesy of KT Miller).
Collecting samples at the base of a waterfall—in the rain—meant getting drenched. (Photo courtesy KT Miller)

“How about this spot?” he asked, grinning again. “People say that this is the most beautiful waterfall in —> Read More