A dozen Monroe County kids in bathing suits, water shoes and old T-shirts dipped into Cherry Creek to learn about the freshwater creatures living there. The excursion featured plenty of information, not to mention welcome relief from late summer’s sticky heat.
Brodhead Watershed Association (BWA) ran the outing, under its Water Wiser Kids program. The kids got snorkels that enabled them to dip their faces into the creek and see its swimming, squirming residents for themselves.
Bob Heil, BWA executive director, says the snorkel idea sprung from goal of engaging three- to twelve-year-olds. “You have to put people in the water to get them to understand and appreciate water,” Heil says. “We knew this would really hit the spot with our audience. “The kids don’t spend a lot of time under the water. But they do some. And if they pull out a snail or a freshwater mussel, all the kids stand around and gawk at it. If somebody sees a fish, they all jump in!”
Thanks to the grant from the LVHN–Pocono Foundation, the afternoon was free – as is the rest of BWA’s programming. Parents were required to bring only their curious kids dressed appropriately: bathing suits, shorts, old T-shirts and water-appropriate footwear. BWA supplied life vests.
The kids combed the creek bed for about 90 minutes. Some of the younger participants who got tired took a break on the shore, while others stayed in the water longer. “We always seem to have that eager, aspiring biologist – and his mother – who want to stay in the water for four hours,” Heil laughs. “We’ve got to move along with them.”