Dan Everson holds up a stream insect
In April, 2013, the University of Georgia, Land Trust for the Little Tennessee, and a host of other partners organized Macon County’s, N.C.’s first Kids in the Creek event. It brought 8th grade students from across the watershed to Cartoogechaye Creek, to spend a day learning about the stream. During the course of the field trip, students rotated through four statins - water chemistry, hydrology, fish sampling, and aquatic invertebrate sampling. At the stream invertebrate station, the students collected animals, used simple keys to identify what they caught, and reflected on what the number and diversity of their catch says about stream health.
The watershed is home to the endangered Appalachian elktoe mussel, leading to the Service’s commitment to this educational event, specifically helping teach students about the diversity of life in the stream and the importance of the stream’s invertebrates, which includes not only mussels but also insects that form important parts of the stream food web and serve as indicators of stream health.
Credit: Gary Peeples/Asheville Field Office