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Monarchs Fly at Sandy Creek Park

Teacher photographing students by a monarch caterpillar art project
Northeast Creek Streamwatch member Nancy Lambert, art teacher at Fayetteville Street Elementary School (on Third Fork Creek) photographing students by the caterpillar the Fayetteville Street art students made for the Monarch Festival at Sandy Creek Park, Durham

The Northeast Creek Streamwatch Puppet and Parade unit participated in the organization of the Durham Monarch Festival 2015 along with conservation organizations from throughout Durham County. As part of the festival, schools were encouraged to participate, and Northeast Creek Streamwatch member Nancy Lambert turned her art class at Fayetteville Street Elementary School into creating art representing the life cycle of the monarch butterfly. The big burlap sculpture that the class made of a monarch caterpillar was a big hit.

Northeast Creek Streamwatch member Colleen Haithcock painted the large monarch butterfly banners and some of the signs used for festival operations. The grand parade for releasing the monarchs was led by a stylized milkweed floral spray that Colleen made.

Monarchs migrate from Canada and the United States to the Michoacan area of Mexico every fall and return north every spring. Each journey represents about three generations of monarchs, which lay their eggs on milkweed plants. Because milkweed plants are toxic to livestock, the habitat for monarchs has been decreased from increased pasture land use and from urban development. Conservationists are encouraging the planting of milkweed as butterfly gardens to increase the monarch population. The familiar yellow, black, and white striped caterpillar is the larva of the monarch; get used to tolerating seeing these on the milkweed that you plant for them.

Statement of Appreciation – Mr. Barry Archer

barry archer with fox mask on top of head waiting for beginning of the 2014 Parkwood Christmas Parade
Barry Archer as Creek Critters fox in the 2014 Parkwood Christmas Parade
In March 2014 Northeast Creek Streamwatch participated in the Durham Creek Week stream clean-up by cleaning the banks of the creek that flows into the Parkwood lotus pond and lake. In preparation we had advertised in several local businesses. We set up a table with a banner announcing a creek clean-up, and people came out to participate. Among the folks who helped were several youth, one of whom rode by on his skateboard and went home to change and came back to work. Several of the youth belonged to a local youth group and asked if their youth group could do a another clean-up as they were looking for service projects..These youth were participants in a community leadership training program facilitated by Barry Archer of Barak Source for Learning; they came to the next monthly meeting of Northeast Creek Streamwatch and invited our group to meet with them.

As a result of that meeting, Northeast Creek Streamwatch collaborated with Spring Break enrichment program by locating a speaker from the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association, who spoke about urban creek runoff and the problems of erosion and non-point-source pollution. The group then conducted two days of clean-ups and learned about the hydrology, plants, and animals of a section of Northeast Creek that included blooming paw-paws and spring ephemerals. This section includes meanders and oxbow ponds, which are normal flood plain features in the geography of the Durham Triassic Basin.

In December 2014, this youth group marched as part of the Northeast Creek Streamwatch unit in the Parkwood Christmas Parade, wearing costumes of a great blue heron, deer, and other creek critters.

In January 2015, this youth group helped make costumes of other creek critters in preparation for the Durham Creek Week kickoff parade. In March 2015, they marched as herons, frogs, and other creek critters in the parade. Adult facilitators and parents of the youth marched as a fox, a leaf and ladybug, an opposum, and a beaver.

The leader of this group Mr. Barry Archer trains the youth in leadership skills, and we have been very impressed with the ability of the youth to volunteer and seek out opportunities for service on their own.

Northeast Creek Streamwatch takes this occasion at the end of a summer program put together by Mr. Archer and Mr. John Apel to thank them for their continuing collaboration with the efforts of Northeast Creek Streamwatch and to the greater Parkwood community. We also thank the youth who have been involved in these several programs for their hard work in cleaning up Northeast Creek and their willingness to learn the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills involved in the creek and its care.

Durham Creek Week Kickoff features Northeast Creek Critters and Puppet Theater

The 2015 Creek Week Kickoff at Durham Central Park on March 21, 2015 saw the creek critters from Northeast Creek march in the parade with people from the other watersheds in Durham County.

One of the highlights of the event was the Northeast Creek Critter Puppet Theater featuring Woodrow the beaver and Clyde the raccoon and puppeteers Barry Archer and John Apel.

Durham Watershed Improvement Project in Northeast and Crooked Creeks Begins Monday

From the City of Durham:

Stream Walks Help the City Identify Potential Watershed Improvement Projects

Beginning Monday, September 12, Durham residents who live in the Northeast Creek and Crooked Creek watersheds may see scientists and field crews in orange vests walking along the creeks as the City of Durham begins field work for a study aimed at revitalizing the health of these creeks and its surrounding areas.

[pullquote]Durham residents who live in the Northeast Creek and Crooked Creek watersheds may see scientists and field crews in orange vests walking along the creeks as the City of Durham begins field work for a study aimed at revitalizing the health of these creeks and its surrounding areas.[/pullquote]

According to Sandra Wilbur, project manager with the City’s Stormwater Services Division, over the next three weeks residents living in the assessment area, which encompasses over 40 miles of streams, may see field crews walking through neighborhoods and along streams in the watershed. These crews will present their identifying credentials and project information sheets upon request. Some of the neighborhoods included in the assessment are Emorywood, Carpenter Fletcher Road, Parkwood, Audubon Park, and Woodlake.

The goals of the project are to improve the health of creeks and ensure compliance with water quality regulations. The first step in meeting these goals is learning about current conditions of the watersheds. In June and July, field crews evaluated stormwater control measures that filter polluted runoff in each watershed. Examples of these measures include stormwater ponds, wetlands, and bioretention areas.

“Our field crews will assess the streams in the project area for overall stream quality, including evidence of stream bank erosion, pollution sources, and other water quality problems,” Wilbur said. “The teams will also identify restoration potential of specific stream reaches. After the field work is completed, we’ll use the engineering analysis and public input to develop a prioritized list of potential improvements projects.”

Residents interested in providing input to help shape the project and prioritize the water quality improvement opportunities may participate in the stream walks or attend public meetings that will be announced at a later time during this project. To view a map of areas that are included in the assessment or the project schedule, visit the City’s website at www.DurhamNC.gov/Stormwater or contact Wilbur at (919) 560-4326, ext. 30286 or via e-mail at Sandra.Wilbur@DurhamNC.gov

South Durham Green Neighbors is sponsoring three upcoming programs

Sustainability and Our Infrastructure

Thursday, September 15, 7pm, South Regional Library

Scott Huler the 2011 Piedmont Laureate and author of On the grid : a plot of land, an average neighborhood, and the systems that make our world work, will be speaking on “Sustainability and Our Infrastructure” at the South Regional Library on Thursday, September 15, at 7:00 p.m.

Menu for the Future (registration required)

September 29, October 6, 20, 27, and November 3, 10 and 17 from 7:30-8:00 pm, Southwest Regional Library

Southwest Regional Library
3605 Shannon Road
Durham, North Carolina 27707
Contact: Jennifer Lohmann
Contact Number: 919-560-8594

To register:
Go to Southwest Regional Library ; click on the calendar and then the event.

This eight-session discussion course from the Northwest Earth Institute looks at where our food comes from and how we can help the environment with our food choices.

Topics Covered:

  1. What’s Eating America: Given the array of food choices and advice, eating in modern industrial society can be wrought with confusion, contradictions and anxiety. Session One considers the effects of modern industrial eating habits on culture, society and ecological systems.
  2. Anonymous Food: Session Two traces the historical shift from family farms to industrial agriculture to present day questions surrounding genetically modified organisms (GMO) and industrial organics. The session examines the ecological and economic impacts that have accompanied the changes in how we grow and prepare food.
  3. Farming for the Future: Session Three explores emerging food system alternatives, highlighting sustainable growing practices and the benefits of small farms and urban food production. The session considers how individuals can make choices that lead to a more sustainable food supply.
  4. You Are What You Eat: Session Four explores food systems from a human health perspective. The session considers the influences that shape our choices and food policies from the fields to Capitol Hill, and the implications for our health and well-being.
  5. Toward a Just Food System: The readings in Session Five examine issues of hunger, equity, and Fair Trade. The session considers the role that governments, communities and individuals can play in addressing these issues to create a more just food system.
  6. Choices for Change: Individuals and communities are discovering the benefits of choosing local, seasonal and sustainably grown and produced foods. Session Six offers inspiration and practical advice in taking steps to create more sustainable food systems
  7. .

A World of Health (registration required)

Tuesday evenings, September 27-November 15, 7:00-8:30 pm.

South Regional Library
4505 S. Alston Avenue
Durham, North Carolina 27713
Contact: Cathy Starkweather
Contact phone; 919-560-7410
Contact email: cstarkweather@durhamcountync.org

To register:
Go to South Regional Library; click on the calendar and then the event.

A World of Health is an eight-session discussion course from the Northwest Earth Institute. Come explore “good health,” the connections between human health and the environment, and how we can sustain both.

For more about the course: Northwest Earth Institute.

Topics Covered:

  1. Redefining Health: Good health is something most of us strive for, but what do we really mean when we talk about it, and how might we go about creating the conditions that foster it? This session explores how we define health and how that understanding informs our individual and collective well-being.
  2. Eating Well: Most people agree that eating well is a foundation of good health. Yet many of our decisions are now focused on avoiding foods that might be harmful to ourselves and our planet. How did we arrive at this point where food, which sustains us, has often become something to fear and worry about?
  3. Cleaning House: Americans now spend nearly 90 percent of their time indoors, much of that at home. We look to it as a safe haven, a place to escape from the stresses and trials of the outside world. But recent studies suggest they may not be the safe refuges we think. This session uncovers dangers of household toxins and empowers participants to minimize exposure to health risks.
  4. Building Healthy Communities: Many of Americans’ health problems may be traced not only to what we eat, but also to where we live. The readings in this session examine how issues of proximity to major roads and industry, urban and suburban sprawl, and access to amenities and green space impact our overall well-being.
  5. Curing Consumption: Having considered some of the more direct links to health in previous sessions, the authors in this session look at health within the broader context of a consumer culture. While it is easy to see the connection between health and what we eat, drink and breathe, making connections between the products we buy and our health can require some additional effort.
  6. Healthy Planet-Healthy People: The focus of this session widens to consider health within the context of Earth’s dynamic and life-sustaining ecosystems. The readings explore the importance of biodiversity, the health of the oceans, climate change and the interplay between the forces of nature and our individual and collective health.

Durham County Residents: Participate in Strategic Planning Survey for County Government

The Durham Board of County Commissioners’ web site provides this description of the survey:

What will Durham County look like 5, 10 or 50 years from today? What current and emerging issues do we need to consider now as we strive to make this community an even better place to live, work, learn, play and grow?

These are just some of the visioning questions Durham County Government will be asking as we journey through a strategic planning process, which culminates in early 2012 with a Strategic Plan adoption by the Board of County Commissioners. Between now and then, the Board of County Commissioners, citizens, county employees and countless stakeholders will be working to shape a plan that will help guide Durham County forward in the years to come.

Durham County Strategic Planning Survey