Early this spring, Shirley Runge, a science teacher at Queen of the Rosary School in Elk Grove Village, contacted Salt Creek Watershed Network from our web site asking if anyone could come and speak to her class of junior high students about Salt Creek. The students had been learning about the creek, walking along its banks, testing the water quality and finding out about it.
Salt Creek runs behind the school and everyone who attends classes is very familiar with it because during periods of high water flow, the creek invites itself right into the school parking lot, flooding it until the creek recedes into its normal banks. It was inevitable that the two should meet, the creek and students from the science class.
I volunteered to go to Queen of the Rosary on a gray day in early May as part of SCWN’s outreach program. All eyes and ears were focused on my brief presentation. I told the students a little history of the creek, its origins in the far northern suburbs, how Lake Michigan water makes the creek flow because of the numerous treatment plants that process waste water from all those suburban homes, including theirs.
We talked about living things along and in the creek. A variety of fish species, reptiles, mammals, insects and plants owe their existence to its flows. I also quizzed them on water quality and helped them understand some of the results of the water quality tests that they did on the creek banks.
The students enjoyed that morning session and comments from some of them were sent to me via email later by their teacher. “I learned a lot”, “it was interesting and informative” and “I never knew that some fish require more oxygen than others” were a few of the things that the students said.
I really enjoyed the morning and wished that I could have more time with the students. It’s one thing to talk about the creek but what really lights the lamp is when we can get right into the water and explore everything that makes the creek special and unique to this area.