A Cumberland River Compact YOUTH EDUCATION Program
Creek Critters is an interactive educational program for youth, where we bring the creek to you! The goal of our Creek Critters program is to get kids interested in science and in our precious water resources at a young age.
In the Creek Critters program, we arrange to visit a local school (churches or community groups are also welcome to host if interested) and teach 3-4 classes about water resources and aquatic organisms. The program is targeted at 4th grade but should be suitable for kids from 3rd to 6th grade. In a typical set up, we try to cycle through an entire grade during that grade’s science period. A typical presentation lasts about an hour per class, but can be varied to suit your schedule.
The program is open to all schools at a first come, first serve basis – all we ask for is a space to host it (libraries have worked well, as have outdoor classrooms!) We can also host a Creek Critters event at our offices in downtown Nashville for smaller schools that may have less space for hosting.
Creek Critters is made possible by the volunteer efforts of Annie Goodhue, a retired TDEC Aquatic Biologist who is leading the program for us!
What does Creek Critters Entail?
We vary the program depending on the time available, student ages, and teacher requests, but some of the elements we’ve used have included the following:
- A short introduction where we talk about what the Compact does and why it’s important to protect our streams and rivers.
- A brief lesson on where water is found (oceans, ice caps, lakes) and how we depend on a tiny fraction of this water to sustain us.
- A short lesson on aquatic biology and how we capture our creek critters for study!
- Some interactive games that teach children about the aquatic animals and the web of life (pictured).
- And most importantly, the CRITTERS, an interactive component where students have the opportunity to view preserved aquatic animals (fish, crayfish, various aquatic insects) and live aquatic animals if the conditions are suitable. These critters are collected at a local creek so the kids can see what kind of aquatic organisms are in their neighborhood.
How many animals can you find hidden among the debris in this tub of creek water?
There are at least six different types.
Creek Critters is supported by the Ryman Hospitality Properties Foundation.