Recently students fromSouthviewElementary SchoolinTuscaloosabecame “Creek Kids” by participating in a hands-on aquatic education course atTannehillIronworksHistoricalState ParkinMcCalla,Ala.The Creek Kids program is a partnership between the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) andTannehillIronworksHistoricalState Park.
Designed by WFF to fit into the Alabama Course of Study for Science, the Creek Kids program allows many students the type of hands-on environmental learning that an indoor classroom cannot provide.
Debbie Conerly, a 4th grade teacher at Southview, says the best way for children to learn about aquatic education is to get them wet inAlabama’s creeks. “We try to incorporate the 5 E’s in all of our lessons: engage, explore, explain, extend, and evaluate. Creek Kids gave us the perfect opportunity to do all five as we compared our experiences at Tannehill,” Conerly said. “Being able to have every student in the class participate in this field trip because of the minimal cost will certainly open their eyes and minds to the world of science outside their normal surroundings. Because Tannehill is close by, our students can encourage their families to visit the park as well.”
During their visit, the students learned about the importance of watershed ecology including how dams and pollution affect a stream’s fish population. The thrill of netting various aquatic species by wading into Mud Creek and viewing invertebrates under a microscope were Creek Kids highlights for many of the students. Students also were treated to an overview of the watershed via a train ride, and visited the Iron and Steel Museum of Alabama to learn aboutAlabama’s iron industry.
The Creek Kids program is $5 per student. Public schools with 40 percent or more of their students eligible for free or reduced lunches may have their fees waived. Assistance with some transportation costs also may be provided. Funding for Creek Kids comes from the sale of “Take a Kid Fishing” car tags. To plan a Creek Kids field trip for your students, contact Brenda Morrison at 205-477-6301 or Brenda.Morrison@dcnr.alabama.gov.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Parks, StateLands, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com.