Learn to Love the River
Staying Connected to the River and Each Other
From all of us here at RiverLink, we hope that you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy during this difficult time. COVID-19 has greatly impacted all of our lives, and our education and volunteer programs are no exception. While we can no longer host lessons in the schools or volunteer service days, we’re excited to share our weekly “Learn to Love the River” email series with you! Each week we will send email(s) with:
- Educational resources to learn about river ecosystems.
- Fun river related activities to do with kids at home.
- Inspirational poems, stories and videos about the river.
- And more!
We know that this is a tough time for many people, and we hope that the river can provide you with some much needed hope and distraction. Even though we’re stuck at home, we’re extremely grateful for our beautiful natural resources and the communities that help protect them!
Issue 1 | Watersheds & the Basics of Stream Health
Learn about how our urban environments are connected to stream ecosystems, and how our day to day actions can impact local waterways. Use the information you learn to assess the health of a local stream. Use materials you have at home to create your own watershed for a fun and educational activity with your kids. Read a poem our Voices of the River Contest that illustrates the balance needed for our rivers!
Issue 2 | All About Dragonflies
This issue is all about Dragonflies! These little beauties are some of our favorite stream critters, learn about some of the fascinating adaptations that really set them apart. We also provide some guidance for you to safely go out and find some of these little bugs for yourself. And to wrap it all up we’ve got another inspiring poem for our Art and Poetry contest. We hope you enjoy and learn something new!
Issue 3 | Weathering and Erosion
Let’s learn about erosion! Our land and water resources are highly connected and have some major impacts on each other. In this issue we’ll define the concepts of weathering and erosion and look at how they can impact our waterways. We’ve also included a great activity to build your own stream table and see erosion first hand. Finally we take a quick virtual tour of one of our favorite local stream. We hope you enjoy and learn something new!
Issue 4 | Stormwater and Urban Streams
This issue is all about stormwater, one of the biggest impacts that human activity can have on local waterways. Check out a virtual lesson of our awesome stormwater model, a great activity about pervious and impervious surfaces, and a recording of our Earth Day Kids’ Festival.
Issue 5 | All About Kingfishers
The Kingfisher, a glorious birb that we have right here in Western North Carolina. In this issue we explore what makes this bird so impressive and how it relies on the health of our waterways. We’ve also included links to help you bird watch in your backyard while you’re stuck at home.
Issue 6 | Invasive Species & Kudzu
Spring is here and our world is now filled with greenery! Unfortunately not all of this green is good… Invasive plant species are a big concern here in WNC. These aggressive plants can take over some of our local ecosystems and cause lots of problems for local species. In this issue we’ll explore what exactly qualifies as and invasive species and take a deep look at one of the most common ones, Kudzu.
Issue 7 | Nutrients and Eutrophication
We all need nutrients to survive, and the creatures in our streams are no different. In this issue we’ll take a look at how life in and around the stream gets its nutrients, and the impact that too many nutrients can have on an ecosystem. We hope you enjoy and learn something new!
Issue 8 | How do Mountains and Rivers Form?
Western North Carolina has many beautiful and unique land forms, but how did they come to be? In this issue we’ll take a look at how the landscapes in WNC formed, what role waterfalls had in that formation, and some interesting facts about caves. We hope you enjoy and learn something new!
Issue 9 | Flooding
In this issue we’ll take a look at how floods impact our community and aquatic ecosystems. We hope you enjoy and learn something new! Have you ever seen or experienced a flood? If so, share a picture and tag us on Facebook or Instagram.
Issue 10 | All about Salamanders
Greetings River Lovers! This week’s issue is all about salamanders! Did you know that the southern Appalachian Mountains are a hotspot for salamander diversity? In this issue we’ll learn about these amazing little creatures, as well as learn more about the diversity of this region. We hope you enjoy!
Issue 11 | All about pollinators
What do bees, butterflies, and birds have in common? They all fly and they pollinate plants! These are crucial members of our communities that help us maintain healthy plants and ecosystems. In this issue we’ll learn about pollinators and how they help keep our streams healthy.
Issue 12 | Everyone can make a difference
Everyone can do important work to conserve and keep our environment healthy, which keeps us healthy too. No matter what your background, age, race, income, sexuality, religion etc. there should be a space where you can go to enjoy nature. In this issue we’ll show you some important people of color who have made a big difference for the environment.
Issue 13 | The basics of water chemistry
In previous issues we’ve gone over nutrients, pollution, and life that can be in our streams and rivers. There are other, invisible things that can be in the water too which have a big impact on its health. Testing the chemistry of water and even the land near it can tell you a lot about what’s happening with those streams and rivers. In this issue we’ll go over chemical testing and why it’s important.
Issue 14 | All about otters
We’ve learned about dragonflies, kingfishers, hellbenders, and caddisflies. Our waters are full of fascinating aquatic life! Now it’s time to take a look at one of the cutest and most entertaining aquatic animals! In this issue we are going to talk about RiverLink’s very own mascot, the river otter.
Issue 15 | Riverside parks in Asheville
Asheville has an abundance of outdoor spaces where we can spend time with nature. Whether you’re going to walk, play with your dog, ride a bike, or sit and read, parks are a great way to get your daily dose of sunshine. They can also help you explore our streams and rivers! Today, we’ll be talking about some of our riverside parks which help us connect with our watershed.