Kids in the Creek


Kids in the Creek team, Mandy Mayfly (Joan Hearn) Wendy Patoprsty and Dick Hearn (Stream Doctor) at Valle Crucis Community Park 2014 Environmental Field Days!


Students sample for benthic macro invertebrates – “creek critters” behind Cove Creek School.

In Partnership with the Watauga County Cooperative Extension and Watauga County Schools, the Watauga River Partners have been providing hands-on river educational programs to students in the high country since 2005.

The program starts out with an introduction to watersheds using the “non-point source” Enviroscape model.  The Enviroscape demonstrates water pollution and its prevention by visually understanding how we contribute to water quality degradation and how to become part of the solution.  The watershed model uses different flavors of “Kool-Aid” and cocoa powder to show runoff from roads, rooftops, fields, and parking lots.  The Watauga County Extension has recently received two new Enviroscape models from A&T State University that demonstrate hazardous materials and wetlands.

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“Mandy the Mayfly and Stream Doctor” have a funny skit to help the children learn how to test the creek water for dissolved oxygen, pH, and temperature; important components that contribute to a healthy stream. Not only do students participate in the skit where “Mandy the Mayfly” and the “Stream Doctor” test their water, they also get hands on experience catching and identifying macro invertebrates in the water. Participants learn how to identify the common insects in our creeks and learn how those “critters” play an important role in indicating the health of the stream.


The feisty Mandy Mayfly assists the Stream Doctor in testing the dissolved oxygen levels in Vanderpool Creek. I wish you could hear the kids engaged in this skit, it’s wonderful music to our ears!

If you would like to schedule a “Kids in the Creek” program for any age group in Watauga County, please contact or call (828)264-3061