On Monday this week we took a deep dive into the wonderful underwater world of our South Platte River by learning about all the amazing critters that call the SPR their home. We discussed all the animal adaptations needed to survive underwater in a river and the importance of watersheds! It was a hot one, so many water spray bottles were used for environmental demonstrations as well as to cool down!
On Tuesday we continued to learn about the SPR and all the small macroinvertebrates that use the river as their home. Crusher the Crawdad helped us out by showing us the best parts of the river to find crawdads at Critter Crawl. An afternoon storm rolled in preventing us from being outside later in the day but we made up for it with crafts and watershed board games!
On Wednesday we tried to locate and identify as many river flora and fauna as possible. We saw a red tailed hawk in addition to our usual crawdads, geese, and river grasses we see on the daily. Swimming upstream we learned about the greenback cutthroat trout, the state fish of Colorado, and fashioned our own fish with the best adaptations for the SPR.
On field day we all got together at Overland Pond Park, a new location for many of our campers and staff! We released fingerling brown trout into the SPR so they could live out their lives in their natural habitat after being raised in the Greenway Foundation’s offices for conservation and river restoration purposes. Then we got to steer a small boat around the pond itself in order to learn about how the depth of the water can dramatically change the creatures that use it. We saw many cormorants, egrets, and crawdads! After a whole group critter crawl we endured the long walk back to SPREE HQ in record time for an afternoon in the sprinklers.
On Friday we wrapped up the week in rivergrass (similar to seaweed, but native to our freshwaters) by learning about the importance of aquatic plants. We reflected on how we grew like trees and rooted down in the afternoon at graduation where everyone came together to say how awesome of a week we had.