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We strive to create memorable
experiences around water

Whether you come to a River Talk, hear from our staff at a volunteer event, or have the Cumberland River Compact in your classroom, we want you to leave being able to share something new and exciting with someone you know as well as leave with the skills to make positive change.

Youth & School Programs

Creek Critters

Creek Critters is an interactive, environmental education 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.

Creek Critters teaches students what lives in their creek and empowers them to take action to protect their environment! The program is aligned to 4th Grade science standards, but can be adapted for other grades. We also offer an extended, 3-day program. This program includes a day of watershed exploration with our stormwater model, a typical Creek Critters day, and a final day where students create a collaborative art piece to share what they learned.

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 local waters and aquatic organisms. The program is open to all schools on a first come, first served basis.

I’m interested in having Creek Critters come to my school.

If you have more questions about Creek Critters, please fill out the form below.

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Creek Critters is made possible by the volunteer efforts of Annie Goodhue, a retired TDEC Aquatic Biologist who is leading the program for us! Creek Critters is supported by the Ryman Hospitality Properties Foundation.

The Incredible Journey

Preferred Grade: 3rd

Students will estimate how much water is on Earth and why we cannot use all of it. Then, they will simulate the movement of water through the water cycle with an interactive activity.

Litter in Our Water

Preferred Grade: 2nd-5th

Students will simulate the impact of pollution on water quality as the Cumberland River flows from the headwaters to Nashville. After seeing how the water is polluted students will be tasked with making the water clean again by creating their own water filtration mechanism.


Preferred Grade: 6nd-12th

Students will explore our watershed through a guided use of iCreek with Cumberland River Compact staff. Using iCreek, students will understand how land use affects water quality, determine the health of their local creek, and research ways to improve water quality. This lesson can be combined with a stormwater model demonstration for a comprehensive exploration of watersheds.

Stormwater Model

Students will be introduced to the basics of a watershed and how urbanization can affect water quality through the use of an interactive stormwater model. The model provides a valuable resource for youth to learn about runoff and flood management.

The Compact would like to thank the Nashville Predators Foundation for providing support for the development of the Stormwater Model.

Life Support

Preferred Grade: 4th-12th

In partnership with the Tennessee Association of Utility Districts, the Cumberland River Compact put together the “Life Support Curriculum” for students in grades 4-12. This free curriculum features easy-to-understand text, illustrations, puzzles, and lab activities to help students explore the water cycle, watersheds, and the work people do to provide clean water. The booklets are great for classroom teachers, non-formal educators, and home school groups.

* Hard copies of the curriculum may be requested and sent to your school.

Download the Curriculum Here: Teacher Edition

Download the Curriculum Here: Student Edition

Cumberland River Curriculum

The Cumberland River Curriculum explores the river through art, science, and historical perspectives. The curriculum is supported by the Henry Laird Smith Family Foundation for the Harpeth Hall Winterim. Through the 3-week course, students learn the value of water, the importance of the Cumberland River through time, the ways art can be used to advocate for environmental changes, and the innovative solutions for water quality that can be applied to their school campus. The experience is specially designed for Harpeth Hall’s Winterim, but aspects can be modified for high school classes. Fill out the form below if you’d like to learn more about hosting a school program.

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River Talks

In April of 2014, Cumberland River Compact began hosting River Talks: An Educational Series at the Cumberland River Compact’s River Center. River Talks feature a variety of educational talks and are broken down into five series: History of the Cumberland, Natural World of the Cumberland, Travelers on the Cumberland, Spirits on the Cumberland, and Innovations and Solutions for the Cumberland. These events bring experts, artists, researchers, professionals, and characters of the river together to share their knowledge and experience. All events are free and open to the public. Don’t forget to reserve or bring a lunch!

Stream the Latest Episode

More Talks

Send us your feedback, questions, and future topic suggestions by emailing us at or leaving us a voice message at 615.933.8837

We look forward to being with our River Talks community once again!


Join your fellow local businesses, civic groups, watershed associations, churches, schools, scouts, and others in adopting a local waterway in the Cumberland River Basin!

Learn how to adopt a stream

Nashville Waterways Consortium

Through educational opportunities, outreach events, public awareness, these five Middle Tennessee non-profits work to enhance the overall health of our water.

Learn about Nashville Waterways Consortium

City Nature Challenge

Biodiversity is everywhere, even in thriving urban areas like Nashville. Join us each Spring for the Nashville City Nature Challenge as we compete with cities all around the globe to show our city’s wonderfully diverse urban wildlife! We need YOU to be a citizen scientist and document the wildlife you see in your backyard, schoolyard, or local park. During the Nashville City Nature Challenge, snap a photo and upload your wildlife observations to iNaturalist. You will be helping us understand what plants and animals call Nashville home.

Want to check out observations from previous challenges? Check out the project pages below:

City Nature Challenge 2019 City Nature Challenge 2018 City Nature Challenge 2017