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

Streamside Classroom

We are excited to present our new series of environmental education lessons to area middle schools beginning this fall!  In collaboration with the Watershed Center, the Grand Traverse Conservation District has been working on ongoing restoration efforts at Kids Creek in order to reduce runoff and stabilize eroding stream banks. Increased runoff is a primary concern throughout the Kid’s Creek subwatershed because of the resulting changes to hydrologic flow and the potential to contribute excessive sediment, nutrient, and toxins to Grand Traverse Bay and its watershed. Large amounts of runoff and increased sedimentation from eroding stream banks has greatly decreased the amount of suitable habitat available for aquatic life. The lack of suitable habitat is one of the main reasons Kids Creek is currently on the state impaired waters list. As one of our community’s natural resources, the health of Kids Creek and our ability to maintain its conservation is closely tied to the community’s awareness of ongoing restoration efforts and an increase in public knowledge as to why preserving Kids Creek is important.

We believe that this restoration project provides a unique opportunity to engage middle school students (ages 11-14) as they draw connections between their community and their surrounding environment within the scope of age-appropriate scientific discovery and analysis. Each of the four “lessons” has been designed to engage students with a variety of scientific concepts that are illustrated through the study of water quality at Kids Creek. Students can expect to get their hands dirty as they put on a pair of hip-boots and follow us into the creek in order to collect real data and get a closer look of what really makes up Kids Creek. Field data collection will be supported by both pre and post material that will accompany each 1-1.5 hour field session in order to help teachers apply the lessons to their planned curricula back in the classroom.

We are offering four unique lessons!

  • Stream Mapping – How does human activity affect the shape of a stream? Students can expect to answer this question by collecting data on the physical measurements of Kids Creek while learning about the effects of erosion and its tie to habitat availability.
  • Chemical Components of Stream Health – Exploring temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, and more, students will learn how to accurately take many different kinds of measurements that impact water quality. Students will be able to draw conclusions from their data in order to further understand the many inputs of an ecosystem and explore cause and effect relationships throughout Kids Creek.
  • Macroinvertebrates – Worms, dragonflies, and snails, oh my! Students will be taking a survey on the macroinvertebrate inhabitants of Kids Creek. By gathering data on insect populations, students will not only get a closer look of their insect neighbors, but learn about the role they play in indicating stream health and their important place within a stream ecosystem.
  • Riparian Zones – Just what is a riparian zone and how does it help save a stream from erosion and pollution? Students will collect data on the vegetation along Kids Creek in order to assess habitat quality and learn about its role as a natural buffer against pollutants entering the creek.

Each of these lessons has been aligned with Next Generation Science Standards in order to promote accessibility and provide opportunities for students to become further involved with their community’s natural resources in a meaningful way. 

Ready to start planning your visit to Kids Creek, please fill out an interest form – Streamside Classroom Interest Form – and we will respond within 3-5 business days.

For further information or questions regarding scheduling or materials, please contact the Boardman River Nature Center at or call 231.941.0960.