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Splashy Science: RiverLink at Estes Elementary
Splashy Science: RiverLink at Estes Elementary
Posted on 10/08/2019
Science made quite a splash during RiverLink’s stream anatomy lesson at W.W. Estes Elementary this month.By: Benjamin Rickert, BCS Communications

A student measures the river depth.Science made quite a splash during RiverLink’s stream anatomy lesson at W.W. Estes Elementary this month. It was hot and humid as fourth grade students hiked through the forest behind their school to Ducker Creek, a small tributary of the French Broad River in South Asheville. There they took measurements of the creek’s width, depth, and velocity, and studied the surrounding environment — including plants, animals, and ecosystems.

“We wanted students to know how scientists would study a creek,” said Estes fourth grade teacher Mr. Brian Andree. “It’s also about conservation and understanding the importance of our streams and watersheds.”

"I had fun. I got wet. And I learned about the habitats of some of the creatures that live in this river," said student Eleanor with a smile.

To help students dive in to the experiential lesson, Mr. Andree invited staff from RiverLink, an environmental organization focused on local waterways. Once they reached the creek, students learned to take various measurements with yard sticks and tape measures. They calculated the velocity of the current using tennis balls and stop watches. Working in teams, they wrote down their observations and discussed their findings. Andree said the students would be able to take their data back to the classroom to plot and analyze.

“RiverLink is looking at connecting the community with the French Broad River and the many connected tributaries,” said Ms. Anna Miller, who is RiverLink’s Education Coordinator through Americorps. “We’re wanting to build that love for the waterways, and build up the future stewards of those waterways.”

A student shares her data with Ms. Rachel Cole.Miller led the stream study on October 1 that included Ms. Rachel Cole’s class. Cole was excited to see her students interacting with some of the topics they are studying in class, such as animals, adaptations, habitats, and erosion.

“We also asked, ‘How does bacteria get into the creek?’ and ‘What use do the leaves and canopy over the creek have?’” Cole said. “It was an opportunity to have fun while learning lessons that apply to every day life.”

“I’m passionate about streams,” added Andree. “It’s so important for our region to have clean water, clean rivers, and buffer zones.”

Learn more about RiverLink's education and volunteer opportunities.

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