Recently, 4th grade students from Advent Episcopal Elementary School in Jefferson County and Albert Turner, Sr. Elementary School in Perry County became “Creek Kids” by participating in a hands-on aquatic education course at Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park. The Creek Kids program is a partnership between the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) and Tannehill Ironworks Historical State 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.
Erica Woods, a 4th grade teacher at Albert Turner, Sr. Elementary School, says the best way for children to learn about aquatic education is to get them wet in Alabama’s creeks. “Students from last year that went through the Creek Kids program told our current students that they would have a great time and they certainly did,” Woods said. “The children really enjoyed the hands-on experience at the creek, especially finding shells and other living things in the water.”
During their visit, the students learned about the importance of watershed ecology including how dams and pollution affect stream-fish populations. The thrill of netting various aquatic species by wading into Mud Creek and viewing microorganisms 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 about Alabama’s iron industry.
“The program was perfect for my students,” said Dana Roberts, a 4th grade teacher at Advent Episcopal Elementary School. “The EnviroScape presentation and the experience at the bubbling springs were excellent.”
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, State Lands, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com.