Field Work Friday – What Lives in a River?

This week we headed off to Little River Regional Park, a great park just outside Durham to find out what lives in a river.


Park Manager Mike DiFabio met us bright and early to begin our hike.   The weather was rather cool and it rained hard yesterday, so we had a smallish group – but these boys were big on energy.

Though cool, it turned out to be a beautiful day for a hike.

The boys collected leaves while hiking to the river, and when we arrived, Mike helped the boys identify all of their leaves.  Did you know that some trees sport two different leaves??

Some of them were really interested in this.

After talking briefly about what a river is, where it goes, and how different animals might use it, Mike passed out the tools we could use.  He had fish nets and collection vials for each person, as well as bigger tanks for storing any creatures we might find.  There were also books to help us identify our finds.

This was a huge hit.  What little boy doesn’t  want free reign to play in a river?

The kids were creative where they looked for specimens …

and they searched hard to find the creatures of the river!

Over the course of our visit, we found baby fish and a small toad.

A beetle required the identification book …

(photo taken by and used with permission of Susan Byerly)

and so did this tiny snail.

After packing up our river tools, we decided to finish the hike via a longer route that would keep us by the river.

Mike continued to teach us about nature as we hiked, pointing out this beaver trail …

and teaching us about how beneficial even this dead tree could be for the forest.

Upon returning to the pavilion, we were hungry and happy to eat our lunches!  It was truly a gorgeous day to be outside, though, and we learned not only about the river, but the leaves, the trees, the history of the area, and the animals who live there, too.

If you live in the Durham area, be sure to check out Little River Park.  If you don’t, look for park information for places near you.

Who knows what kind of hidden natural treasures could be just around the corner?

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