The classroom and the Appalachian elktoe

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is offering a series of water quality workshops for educators, Aug. 31 through Sept. 3 on Western North Carolina rivers where the endangered Appalachian elktoe mussel makes its home.

“We want to get educators outside, in rivers, and empower them to engage their students in water-quality monitoring and tracking water-quality issues,” says Gary Peeples, workshop facilitator and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologist. “These workshops will provide them the tools to be literate in water quality issues and pass that on to their students.”

The workshops are based on the It’s Our Water curriculum, created by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Each session occurs on local rivers that are home to the elktoe mussel: The first will be offered Monday, Aug. 31, on the South Toe River in Yancey County; on Wednesday, Sept. 2, there’s a session on the Little Tennessee River in Macon County; and on Friday, Sept. 4, it’s on the Tuckasegee River in Jackson County.

All workshops are from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will cover water chemistry, aquatic life and hydrology. Participants will receive numerous teaching materials and have the opportunity to get in the river and experience it first hand. Registration is $10.

For more information, or to register, contact Gary Peeples at 258-3939, ext. 234, or

About Margaret Williams
Editor Margaret Williams first wrote for Xpress in 1994. An Alabama native, she has lived in Western North Carolina since 1987 and completed her Masters of Liberal Arts & Sciences from UNC-Asheville in 2016. Follow me @mvwilliams

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