Today was a very special field trip. We met Josh at the Cumberland River Compact office where the girls picked up some hard earned prize money: checks for $50 each.
Here’s the story: Back in the summer, we found out through our church that there would be a “Catfish Rodeo” at Sevier Lake in Shelby Park. This is a very special lake to us, and the girls and I have nearly completed a fundraising project for the local ducks there.
The Cumberland River Compact–a nonprofit dedicated to conserving and improving our local watershed–sponsored the event. The purpose is to raise awareness and to bolster community involvement.
The lake was stocked with catfish, and people were allowed to fish without a permit. They offered poles and bait, as well as informational booths about our local ecology and the biodiversity of our lakes and rivers. We explored a model of the city showing where the water goes after we use it in our homes, how it goes into the river, and how we use it again. Water is our most vital resource and it is so important that we value and protect it.
Volunteers handed out goodie bags to the children that included a flyer about a contest. The guidelines were pretty loose: Demonstrate something you have learned from the fishing experience through a creative medium. This could be art, video, poetry, etc. The prize was for $100. The girls quickly calculated how many lego sets they could buy with that amount of money and got to work.
Amelie made a lego model of Sera and herself fishing and wrote about how we need to take care of the Cumberland. Sera drew several types of fish and made poems and acronyms about the different fish and Cumberland River facts.
The catfish rodeo was in June, so we figured if we had won we would have already heard. But to my surprise, I got a phone call in October that Sera and Amelie were indeed the winners! They would share the prize money. $50 each is not a bad prize for a kid!
We arranged a time for the girls to go and receive their checks. I knew it would be a great field trip opportunity, but the experience exceeded my expectations. Friendly staff members explained the watershed to the girls, showed them maps of the Cumberland, and talked about the work of the Cumberland River Compact. It was such a great educational experience, although I’m sure the girls were slightly distracted with the prospect of collecting their $50 dollars at the end!
Afterward, as we drove to dinner together as a family, we discussed the Cumberland River in relation to other rivers in the United States. This evolved into a full blown geography discussion. We tried to guess all of the states without looking at a map.It started as a road trip tradition, but now we do it just for fun (I know, nerd alert). We never get them all. This time we left out Minnesota and Wisconsin. Sometimes we try to remember them in alphabetical order. Sometimes we try to “trace” the states with our imaginations. We still leave 2 or 3 out. Every time.
Can you name all 50 states without cheating? It’s a challenging activity and it’s fun to do as a family. Try it…how’d you do?
Subjects covered today: Nature, Ecology, Geography