Creek Day was awesome! At the start of the day, Maggie and her mom-van stopped by our house and picked up a bunch of materials that we needed for the event such as a few tables, a watershed model, and recyclables. After that, we drove over to Eric’s to pick up his supplies. We arrived at the school around 10 am and went inside and talked to the teachers. They were so excited to have us there. After some logistical conversations about where to put the stations and how to divide up and rotate the groups, we started to unpack Maggie’s van and the River Institute van and started setting up for the event.
It fits! Maggie’s van with our supplies
My station was the watershed station. Here the kids “made it rain” on the plastic watershed model with a spray bottle and pitcher of water to see where the water would go. Following this, the students sprinkled green sugar cookie crystals all over the model to represent pollution. After making it rain again, we checked out the water that had drained into our rivers, lakes, and streams. It was green water, and I showed it to the kids, and they all said “Eeewww” or “That’s gross.” When I asked them if they would drink it, they always replied with a loud “No!”
Following this, we went over to the large River Mobile map of the US which shows all the rivers in Dayton as well as the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers which drain into the ocean. Here, we followed the path of water downstream to the ocean, acknowledging how many states these rivers touched along the way. Many learned which state Arkansas was in addition to the rivers along the way to the ocean. Then we talked about how if I dropped my infamous empty chip bag on the ground in our watershed, it would flow to the rivers and creeks in Dayton when it rains. Next, it would flow to the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers all the way to the ocean, affecting all of the fish, animals, plants, birds, people, and communities along the way.
Finally, we talked about how we can protect our watershed to keep this from happening. We talked about cleaning up our dogs’ poop in the yard and not washing our cars outside in the driveway. They mentioned most frequently that not littering and picking up trash would help protect the watershed and the people downstream. So with this, we had a race to pick up 2-3 pieces of trash on the school property and bring them back to the table. By the end of the day, we had a full box of trash that was found on the property. This was one of my favorite parts of the station. I told them, “Look at all of this trash that we collected. You’re awesome! We kept all of this trash out of the river today!” It was super cool. I was proud of them. They were making a real difference in the health of the watershed, the fish and organisms in the river, and us. That’s pretty cool. They I asked how long it took us to do this. 1-2 minutes is what they told me. Here, we learned that spending just a little time and being a little conscious of our actions, we can make a big difference.
It was really fun teaching the kids. They were very receptive to the information and almost always willing to answer my questions. They loved “making it rain” on the watershed and laughed every time I said it :) . I felt like they all learned something that day from this station, whether it was to not litter, or to clean up your dog’s poop, what the AR state is called, or how pollution affects the fish, birds, animals, and us. I felt like each person took away something. And that’s what really matters in the end. If one person learned anything from this, then it was worth it. And I believe this project was most certainly worth it. I am pretty proud of our cohort after today. We came together and really made this happen using all of our different talents, abilities, and interests to create something truly beautiful and awesome. And I believe that we made an impact on the 7th grade students at Edison Elementary. Now I think they know a little bit more about protecting the environment and being stewards of our rivers.
Until next time,