Inspiring exploration, appreciation, and conservation of our natural world.

The Keepers of Kids Creek at the Greenspire School

Greenspire Keepers of Kids Creek sample for Macroinvertibrates

The GTSI students of the Greenspire School call themselves The Keepers of Kids Creek, and rightfully so. With project-based learning at the core of their school mission and the Commons Natural Area in their backyard, these students have adopted the trails and the creek as their outdoor lab!

During Greenspire’s first year of involvement in GTSI, with the direction of their Science teacher Will Havill, students produced an informational tri-fold for the public, interpretive posters for the parkland kiosks,  and a student-produced documentary on the Commons Natural Area trails and Kids Creek.

This year,  Language Arts teacher Erin Fitzpatrick has joined the GTSI team, but at Greenspire all teachers and students are involved, and all learning is interdisciplinary. Their GTSI project has been a school-wide, collaborative effort.

On Saturday, April 27th at 9am and 11am The Keepers of Kids Creek  at Greenspire will be sharing their knowledge and expertise with the public by leading a Community Stewardship Series Parkland event called Explore the Trails of the Commons.   in collaboration with The Grand Traverse Conservation District and Higher Grounds Trading Company.

To prepare for leading this event, students have been studying the water quality of Kids Creek. They have also learned about invasive species management, timber harvesting and reforesting practices.  They are discovering the negative effects of pet waste on the watershed, creating signage to build public awareness, and are researching and designing pet waste composters. They have patrolled the Commons trails for trash which they have since transformed into art. They are enlisting the expertise of community partners and blogging about what they learn.

In a blog entry, student Claire J. reported,

” The students of the Greenspire school have been pretty busy lately. To become more familiar with the environment around them, the have conducted tests on the streams and creeks around their main campus. For Science class, the students collected water samples and tested them for pH levels, stream flow, temperature, dissolved oxygen levels, and turbidity. They recorded their results for later use, and comparison against the tests other groups of student had taken. Later that month, Maureen McManus, a local water quality specialist, came in to help the students learn about the insects that lived on their school grounds. Student put on waders, grabbed some nets and did the ‘bug boogie’, a little dance used to loosen up the soil to collect the bugs that had burrowed down. They collected the macro-invertebrates and brought them back to their building to sort out and identify each of them. As they learn more about the environment they live in, the easier it is for them to be able to take care of it.

benthic macroinvertibrate study

The Greenspire students are filming a documentary to serve as an introduction to the trail hikes they will lead at the Commons. In addition, they are uploading the trail hike information to a web browser application called, Tour Guide, created by Michigan State University. People hiking at the Commons will be able to access the trail information that Greenspire students have provided long after the Parkland event is over, but if you want to experience The Keepers of Kids Creek Live, you better reserve your spot at the April 27th Parkland event.