Testing Stream Life

Elachee’s skilled Naturalists recently gathered for their semi-annual training. These educators enjoyed sharing best practices to prepare for the nearly 20,000 children that will visit the Nature Center on school field trips March through May. Elachee Nature Science Center's skilled Naturalists gather to conduct Stream Life studies to determine the health of streams flowing through the Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve.

Since science is the name of the game, this group of Elachee veterans and relative newcomers to the Programs team enjoyed a field study that is also one of Elachee’s most popular school field trip programs, Stream Life. During this program, students have the opportunity to conduct chemical and biological tests to determine the health of the streams flowing through the Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve. This involves uncovering and collecting macroinvertebrates, from stonefly nymphs and crayfish to the many types of salamanders found in these waterways.

“I’ve loved exploring the hidden life in streams since my childhood,” says Callie Wheat, Elachee Naturalist and mother of an Elachee Nature Academy student. “It’s like therapy. I can do this for hours and lose myself in it.”

Not only does Callie share the wonders of the natural world with school children on field trips, she loves conducting experiments on the weekends. Armed with ice cube trays, nets, pipettes and a magnifying glass, Callie takes her family, friends and their children for weekend treks into the forest to spend hours in the creek. “The adults get as much into the experiments as the children, if not more!”

Nothing beats hands-on learning in the great outdoors. Elachee’s innovative and exciting STEM-based environmental curriculum correlates with the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS), the available Common Core Georgia Performance Standards (CCGPS) and Gwinnett County Public Schools’ Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS). 

Each year, nearly 35,000 children and teens from over 35 Georgia schools systems and home school programs, engage in memorable and meaningful educational experiences at Elachee, the only SACS/AdvancED-accredited nature center in the Southeastern U.S. 

Interested in scheduling an Elachee environmental education program this school year or next fall? Call 770-535-1976 or complete an online scheduling request form.