Kickin’ Off Another Summer of Stream Stewardship

Adopt-a-Stream (AAS) had a busy June this year. The month kicked off with the Mississippi Soil and Water Conservation’s Youth Camp, involving kids in water quality and macroinvertebrates surveying activities. Our AAS Program Coordinator Debra Veeder also assisted with teacher workshops around the state, including classroom and field studies. Finally, the month concluded with St. Anthony’s summer camp, where elementary and middle school youth learned how streams and rivers become polluted.
AAS also held a two-day workshop at Flint Creek Water Park near Wiggins, MS. The thirteen participants learned about non-point source pollution, monitoring water quality, surveying for macroinvertebrates to determine a stream’s health, pollinators and native plants, along with other topics on stream stewardship. The class did field studies on Double Branch Creek in Stone County; and despite the thunderstorms in the preceding days, the creek’s water quality appeared healthy and several interesting macroinvertebrates were found.

AAS is a program that promotes environmental stewardship of our water resources and raises awareness about the effects we have on those resources. This is done through training workshops, outdoor field activities, youth educational programs, and the introduction of watershed action projects. Participants walk away from the workshops feeling empowered by the experience, having gained a tremendous amount of understanding of stream health by directly applying the science. As one participant explains, “I believe the workshop is a great workshop that packs a lot of great information in a short period of time.”

The two-day workshop provided twenty hours of Continuing Education Unit’s for participating teachers. This year, since the workshop was near Black Creek, a Wild and Scenic River, some participants took advantage of the opportunity to conduct a river clean-up in conjunction with a guided float trip. During the float, participants learned about the different trees that lined the creek, along with the various birds that take advantage of it. Several turtles were spotted sunning themselves on downed branches along the way. As we floated and learned about Black Creek we also picked up approximately eight bags of trash which included a cooler, plastic bucket, and a ceramic pumpkin.

The Mississippi Wildlife Federation thanks all the instructors that gave a presentation at the AAS workshop, especially Andrew Whitehurst from GRN and Paul Rodrigue from NRCS, who have been a part of these workshops for many years. Also, thanks to Black Creek Canoe Rental, Brooklyn, MS, who helped us set up the float trip and clean-up.