Hands-on environmental learning is available through “Creek Kids,” a partnership of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division and Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park. The Creek Kids Program teaches students in grades four to eight about aquatic environments.
Students experience an overview of a watershed via a train ride (when operational), see the impact of a mill dam on fish passage, and visit the Iron and Steel Museum of Alabama to learn about Alabama’s iron industry. Students manipulate an EnviroScape, an interactive educational model that illustrates how pollution can move into the aquatic environment. Students also wade into Bubbling Spring and a creek for a hands-on experience with native fish and invertebrates.
Many species of fish and aquatic invertebrates, including some types of crayfish, mussels, and snails, live only in Alabama. Students attending Creek Kids have a good chance of observing an Alabama darter, a small fish only found in certain Alabama streams. Unless Alabama’s citizens better understand our unique aquatic environment, some of these species may become extinct.
The Creek Kids program costs $5 per student. Some schools may have their fees waved if they are public schools with 40 percent or more of their students eligible for free or reduced lunches. Assistance may include some transportation costs. Funding of this effort comes from the sale of “Take A Kid Fishing” car tags. To make Creek Kids reservations, call 205-477-6301 or email.
Students ride the train and hike to look at the watershed.
The dam for the mill prevents fish from moving upstream, which creates fish populations that are separated.
Students look at a Confederate Saltpeter Pot, one step in making gun powder.
EnviroScape model shows students what can happen in a watershed.
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Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park, www.tannehill.org, is part of the Alabama Historic Ironworks Commission, www.alaironworks.com. The park is open to a wide variety of activities including hiking and camping. The Steel and Iron Museum of Alabama is housed in the park. Tannehill is well known for its trade days, which are held on the third Saturday and following Sunday of each month, March through November.
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, State Lands, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com.