The Creek Critters activity pages below can be done without visiting a creek, pond or lake. It is all done on paper with pictures of macroinvertebrates (bugs!). We also provide information about actually going to a body of water if you can see that this warm up activity has sparked an interest in your child. Enjoy!
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How do I properly collect macroinvertebrates from a stream, pond, wetland or lake?
It is important that you handle macroinvertebrates carefully and safely return them to the water body where you found them. Some live up to four years and they are vital food for fish and birds. Here’s a great "How To" guide so you can go out and collect macros in your local watershed!
What are good locations in our area to collect macroinvertebrates?
We aren’t kidding around when we recommend that kids wear life jackets when collecting macroinvertebrate (macros) samples. Creek and lake banks can be slippery and deceivingly deep not far from shore. Of course, they should always be accompanied by a responsible adult. You know your child best but even if they know how to swim, the combination of cold water and being startled can be a dangerous situation.
Additionally, each of these locations has posted rules and regulations. It is your responsibility to know those.
Saltese Flats has sections of shoreline that are accessible. The pond is the only recommended body water on Saltese for macroinvertebrate collection. The canals are steep and deep and not a good source for macros.
Park at the Doris Morrison Learning Center (DMLC) located at 1330 South Henry Road in Greenacres. Even if the learning center is closed, you can still use the free parking area. For directions and DMLC hours, visit our Google Map site.
To learn more about the wetland restoration, click here.
Saltese is a natural area. You are required to "Pack it in, pack it out." Leave no trace that you were there. There are portable toilets available if the DMLC is closed.
The public beach in this park is a great location for collecting water critters. If you don’t get a wide variety, you may need to move along the shore into some weedier areas.
Entry/parking is inexpensive and there is a lot of space for a picnic or just running off a little steam. If you walk south beyond the camping area, Liberty Creek is also a good collection area. Plan on a 1-2 mile round trip walk if going up Liberty Creek.