The rushing waters of Bent Creek were churned up last week as young scientists from Carolina Day School and Rainbow Mountain Children's School braved the cold water in search for bio indicators of stream health. Lead by RiverLink's education coordinator, Nikki Bauman, the third and fourth graders sought out to find macroinvertebrates only found in clean waters of our area.
The section of Bent Creek that was analyzed runs through the Hardtimes Trail, a popular route for bikers, hikers, and dog walkers in the Bent Creek Experimental Forest. Bauman and students discussed why some organisms can survive in less than favorable conditions, while others were too sensitive to handle stressful environments. The question was posed, "Do you think Bent Creek is healthy enough to sustain life of sensitive beings?"
Students were up for the challenge and did not hesitate about sloshing around in knee-deep October water temperatures, swirling nets, turning over rocks, and filtering through leaf litter. One brave student was even pinched by a crayfish, but shook it off and kept the search going. The determination and numb toes paid off after counting and identifying each macroinvertebrate.
High counts of sensitive species yielded a conclusion that Bent Creek supplies healthy and clean water for our watershed. Relieved and satisfied with their findings, students released the organisms back into their habitat, grabbed their towels, and headed for sunshine.
"I was so impressed by the students' enthusiasm and eagerness to participate in the creek and learn about water quality. I had a class of high school students cancel their program for the same week, fearing they would be too cold in the water. The students from Carolina Day and Rainbow Mountain were troopers, and they had a great time, too," said Bauman.
Located in Asheville's River Arts District, RiverLink is a regional organization spearheading the economic and environmental revitalization of the French Broad River watershed as a destination where everyone can work, live and play.
For more information about how you can get involved, see our Web site: www.riverlink.org, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 252-8474.