Last minute localized rains quelled fear that the creek would be dry at Citizens for Conservation-owned Flint Creek Savanna last week. Before the trek to Flint Creek, naturalist April Anderson pointed out the extremely dry conditions in the nearby wetland and discussed the hardships endured by wildlife that depends on the wetland to survive. While walking to the nearby creek, April had participants pretend they were water droplets, and she encouraged the droplets to consider their route to the creek. Was it easier for water to go up or down a hill, over gravel or through prairie plants? April also pointed out the deep crevices in the soil, wilting plants, and yellowing leaves of trees resulting from the drought.
Participants were surprised to learn that a water droplet in little Flint Creek could make its way to the Gulf of Mexico by navigating Flint Creek, the Fox River, the Illinois River, and the great Mississippi River, finally emptying in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
April discussed ways to conserve water as well as how the deep roots of native plants aid them in reaching precious, life-sustaining water. Families also enjoyed seeing first-hand the water vessels made by the leaves connecting to the square stem of the cup plant, thereby producing a cup to hold water and giving the curious looking plant its name.
Down at the creek, everyone enjoyed finding clams, mayfly larvae, leeches, dragonfly larvae, large water beetles, and more. Needless to say the water felt quite refreshing to walk in.
While hiking back to CFC’s farmhouse, volunteers pointed out galls in plants made by weevils, the song of a bobolink, dried scat from coyotes and raccoons, and even a possible mink tunnel with food debris outside the hole!
After enjoying a donated juice box from Costco, each participant made a dragonfly craft to remember their journey as a water droplet. To learn more about CFC’s Leave No Child Inside- related youth classes, visit www.citizensforconservation.org or call 847-382-SAVE.