Every Tuesday and Saturday at 1pm throughout the summer, dozens of excited children and their parents gather for Creek Critters.
Creek Critters is a time for exploring Beaver Creek, looking for aquatic insects. Pairs of children, wade into the clear, shallow waters, clutching plastic cups, turning over rocks and searching intently. Then some child shrieks, “Look what I found!” And then another calls out. Within 5 minutes, the creek is filled with waders finding critters.
Creek Critters is when children gallop out of the water, head to the tables with cups full of critters, and pour them into share tubs for everyone to see. Enthusiastic volunteers help with microscopes and magnifiers, engaging the children in discovery. Sierra Guidebooks whip open, and young ones become amateur entomologists as they try to identify what they’ve found.
Creek Critters is the little boy who joined the program during a weekend camping trip, then couldn’t stop talking about it. He returned the following week, when his mother drove him nearly 3 hours each way to attend Creek Critters for the day.
Creek Critters is the young girl who announced that she’d made a decision that day. She said when she went to college she was going to study marine biology.
Creek Critters is the father and son who brought two more father/son teams back to the creek to share what they’d learned and hunt for critters.
Creek Critters is watching a dragonfly emerge from its exoskeleton (hatch!) under a microscope. It’s picking up caddisfly larvae, which camouflage themselves with protective cases covered with gravel, bits of bark and other debris. It’s finding a mayfly (3 tails), stonefly (2 tails), and the occasional tadpole or other creature.
Creek Critters is watching children carry the share tubs carefully back to the creek, and gently pour the critters back where they belong.
Creek Critters is Jim Allday and his host of incredible volunteers.