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The Kids in the Creek Program

Kids in the Creek (KIC) offers students a fun-filled day of exploring a local creek -- learning about its inhabitants, testing its water quality, and finding out what we can all do to help keep it clean and healthy! 

In Knox County, KIC events are sponsored by Water Quality Forum partners, a consortium of agencies and organizations in the Knox-area dedicated to improving and protecting our waterways as well as community members, civic clubs and businesses.  

Where are KICs held?

A KIC is generally conducted on a creek that is nearby the school.  There are many factors that are considered when selecting a site.  First, safety is considered.  The creek must have easy access and not be too deep.  It must also be clean enough for students to be able to get in with waders.  Second, it is important to have the approval and support of creekside land owners.  Third, it is ideal to have some open space, like a field, adjacent to the creek, so that tents may be set up.  Fourth, it must accommodate bus parking.

How are KICs organized?

So that all participating students have an opportunity to be involved in all of the water quality activities, students rotate through four “stations” during the course of the day, two before lunch and two after.  These stations typically consist of:

  • Fish Assessment:  With the water quality professionals, students collect and identify live fish.  The type and number of fish tell a story about how healthy a creek is.
  • Benthic Macroinvertebrate Assessment:  Benthic macroinvertebrates are mostly comprised of larval forms of insects found on the bottom of the creeks.  With the guidance of the AmeriCorps team members, students collect and sort these interesting creatures.  As with the fish, the type and number of benthics indicate how healthy a creek is.
  • Stream Chemistry:  During this rotation, students have an opportunity to become chemists.  AmeriCorps members teach the students how to conduct tests like pH and dissolved oxygen and then the students have an opportunity to test the creek themselves.
  • Land Use Impacts:  It is important that students understand how our waterways are being impacted and what we can do to help protect them.  Fun and interactive land use models are often used during this rotation to illustrate these concepts.  In addition, if the location is appropriate, AmeriCorps members may devise a land use “scavenger hunt” that challenges students to use their observational skills to evaluate local land use impacts. 

Interested in a KIC event at your school? Call (865) 215-5540 or email for more information. 

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205 West Baxter Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37917

Phone: 865-215-5540
Fax: 865-215-5831

Monday - Friday
8:00 am - 4:30 pm
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