During the past month, boys, ages 5-17, enrolled in YFS’ Boys Health Program have been focusing on conservation by participating in a fun, hands-on program called Creek Freaks!
The Creek Freak curriculum encourages kids to venture outside to explore local streams and learn how healthy trees, shrubs, and grasses protect clean water and wildlife. The program also helps inspire youth to become more conscious and considerate of nature within their local communities.
The Boys Health Program members began their Creek Freak adventure by discussing the main source of natural water in the Rapid City area, Rapid Creek. The big question the boys focused on answering was if the water that flowed from the lakes through Rapid Creek is clean enough to drink.
To try and answer this question, the boys studied the water in a variety of locations, beginning at Pactola Reservoir and ending near Sioux Park in Rapid City. The boys and their guides waded into the water and used screens to collect samples from the creek bed. On more than one occasion, the boys found invertebrates! In addition, they collected soil samples and made notes on the nearby vegetation in each location.
Once specimens had been collected, the boys were given the opportunity to run their own tests. With the help of their guides, the boys were able to examine the water’s metal content and check the pH levels of the water. Based on the outcomes of their tests, the boys’ hypothesized that the water could be clean enough to drink near their starting point, but undrinkable throughout the rest of the creek.
Boys Health Program Advocate, Corey Kennedy stated, “Everyone involved with the project, from the boys to the facilitators, really enjoyed this experience. This project was a successful way to get our boys active outdoors while having fun and participating in educational programming. We support conservation and our fabulous Black Hills area and look forward to many more outdoor projects in the future.”