Kids in the Creek: See You Next Year!
Kids in the Creek is behind us again: waders packed away, t-shirts handed out. We at Haywood Waterways Association want to express our sincere thanks to all the agencies, organizations, local businesses, and volunteers for helping us make some great memories for over 600 Haywood County students who participated in this year’s program. We couldn’t have done it without you!
While Haywood Waterways and Haywood County schools host the program, there are many other partners that continue to make this it so successful. The Pigeon River Fund of the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, the Towns of Canton, Clyde, and Waynesville, Evergreen Packaging, the Waynesville Rotary Club, NC Wildlife Resources Commission, Haywood Soil & Water Conservation District, National Park Service-Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the NC Department of Environment & Natural Resources, Division of Water Quality, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), University of Tennessee-Knoxville (UT-K), Haywood Community College, Trout Unlimited-Cataloochee Chapter, Waynesville Fly Shop, and Best Buy all weighed in as sponsors. Many of these organizations send professionals out to educate the students and several help fund Kids in the Creek. Without these great partners, students, teachers, and administrators, it would be difficult for Haywood Waterways to provide this exceptional experience.
Since Kids in the Creek began in Haywood County 15 years ago, almost 11,000 students have gone through the program. It still ranks as one of the most memorable experiences our students have. It takes a county to put on a program like this one – even a region with the participation of UT-Knoxville and the TVA. While all the waders, nets, and bug paraphernalia have been put away until next year, the students are still talking about their experiences. They learned about Haywood County’s most valuable natural resource while they spent time in the Pigeon River. We at Haywood Waterways have a hunch their day at the river will go a long way toward growing them into responsible community citizens some day. Conservationist Aldo Leopold said, “The objective is to teach the student to see the land, to understand what he sees, and enjoy what he understands." Kids in the Creek does just that, along with a large dose of fun. Aldo would approve!