2: Creek Critters Citizen Science
Schools might be closed for social distancing, but there is still opportunity for kids to get outside and learn. While our focus here at Ocean Matters is on oceans, connecting young people to waterways is one way to teach the interconnectedness of all aquatic ecosystems. As an added bonus: this activity can be done wherever you are—landlocked or not—and allows children to participate in real science.
Please be sure to adhere to your local area’s COVID 19 health restrictions.
Using the app Creek Critters, presented by the Audubon Naturalist Society, kids and families can identify critters in their local creeks and report on the health of these waterways. The app includes options to identify critters and it create reports based on your findings. Once reports are generated you will see your results on a map! This is a great on-going opportunity for kids to learn and to contribute to local science initiatives, as well as see how something as simple as a local creek changes with the seasons.
An Android or Apple phone to download Creek Critters app
Aquarium net or similar (create one from old nylons and a wire clothes hanger),
bucket or jar,
magnifying glass (download an app for your phone)
waterproof pouch for phone
- Ask your child what s/he expects to find in the creek this time of year? (brainstorm answers)
- Together familiarize yourself with the app.
- Take a sample of the water and put it in the bucket with some water. Have your child describe anything living in the water with as much detail as possible. Try to explore basic questions such as: does it swim? can it crawl? is it fully grown? This is considered an inquiry activity meant to engage critical thinking; there really is no wrong answer.
- Identify the critter using the app and log! How correct were they in their original guesses?
- Remember to return the critter to its home.
Additional Citizen Science Projects
Explore other kid friendly citizen science projects through PBSKids.org
This activity can be adapted for older children and teenagers by allowing autonomy and giving a goal such as: identify three organisms or two different genera.
Don’t miss another blog post! Subscribe here:
Subscribe to Blog via Email
Arcadia Davies, Ocean Matters Youth Advocate Leader, recently graduated from Miami University with an interdisciplinary degree focusing on marine ecology and community engagement. She is passionate about connecting communities, especially youth, in ocean conservation projects. During college she practiced communicating science to the public through serving as the communication intern at The Island School in The Bahamas and taking numerous classes in marine ecology, creative writing, journalism, photography and community engagement. Arcadia has loved the ocean since a young age and strives to share that love with others.