Vol 05 - SL1

February 2005 Welcome to “The Dragonfly Messenger” - the first ever print newsletter for the stream teams and water educators of Kansas!

Getting our boots wet….. Travis Daneke
Kansas stream teams and community water education programs are most impressive. All these sampling events, stewardship activities, and broader festivals leave lasting memories.

New KVHA Program Director

5th Annual SL Student Gathering
April 4th, 2005 Matfield Green, KS

For the 5th Annual Student Gathering (SG 2005), the Land Institute restored school house in Matfield Green has been reserved. The morning schedule is centered around Flint Hills ecosystems —from hydrogeology to community life. The afternoon will be field Last fall when I began my work at based as students work on a KVHA, I was focused on outreach Designed for secondary wetland service project. relating to Clinton Lake students, SL’s Annual An event flyer & registration Watershed Restoration and Student Gathering has Protection. I was thrilled to be materials are inserted in this become a noted helping people learn about newsletter. opportunity for complex ecological interactions, multi-disciplinary and begin to develop strong cooperative learning The 2004 SG was held at Wichita’s environmental problem solving centered around the skills. WATER Center — a municipally common water funded cleanup of river bound My duties as a KVHA Program experiences …. plume of contaminated Director have evolved in a solid groundwater. This was a unique StreamLink focus. At this point I opportunity to be a part of a brand new, am working closely with former StreamLink Midwestern landmark environmental Program Director & new KVHA Executive education center. The innovative treatment Director, Alison Reber, and KVHA’s other strips the water of pollutants using the simple O2 extraordinary staff members. Together we are binding process many of the students knew continuing the traditions that have become a from basic chemistry. The cleaned water flows part of SL as well as reaching for new levels of through a series of water related sculptures, a support. massive aquarium of Kansas fish, and into a Throughout this newsletter you’ll find Information stream. Winding it’s way through a restored about upcoming events, and coverage of Cont. pg 3 various happenings and current water topics. I am very excited about the fast approaching StreamLink season and have my eye on the filling calendar. Keep your requests for assistance coming in – we have our sights on meeting everyone’s needs.
We’ve been growing legs for 7 years and now we’re ready to run!

- Travis Daneke, Program Director

8th Annual SL Training and Social
July 10, 2005 Topeka
….a biennial production of the Kansas StreamLink Program.
Kansas StreamLink is a project of the Kaw Valley Heritage Alliance. 412 E. 9th Street Lawrence, KS 66044 (785) 840-0700 Fax: (785) 843-6080 streamlink@streamlink.org KVHA Staff Alison Reber, Executive Director Travis Daneke, Program Director Aimee Polson, Program Director Rachael Sudlow, Project Assistant Adam Dixon, Intern Meg Givens, Intern Sara Holmberg, Intern Board of Directors Dale Lambley, President Paul Liechti, Treasurer Jeff Neel, Secretary Will Boyer, At-Large Dave Murphy, At-Large VACANT, At-Large Funding for KVHA Projects including Kansas StreamLink is currently provided by grants from the KS Dept. of Health & Environment and by the contributions of partners and program users. KVHA is a federally recognized 501c(3) non-profit organization. Donations are tax deductible.

We plan to hold the 8th T&S at the Crest View Community Center, 4801 SW Shunga Driver, Topeka. Shunganunga Creek flows through a wellcanopied nature park adjacent to the Center. Similar to the Annual Student Gathering, the annual training is held at a new site each year. Guest presentations are tailored to specific training area. This year should be especially interesting given the breadth of our State Capital’s water relationships. Topeka is the home of our primary 2005 sponsors, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment as well as several of KVHA’s closest partners. There are many exciting things to share—we hope you’ll join us.

A crib sheet to the SL paperwork that makes things work.
Included in this newsletter are the forms you’ll need to tap into the materials and support SL can provide. The “Request for Assistance” form has been re-designed to have a listing of the resources we have available (chemistry kits, reagents, nets, submarines...just kidding :) We can now provide several kinds of on-site support. The form helps you frame out some of the basic pieces of information we need in order to be prepared for your event. Typically an intern will follow up with you to cover the specifics - especially as the event gets closer. Remember! We need to have your Participant Application on file to keep the services coming. The forms keep changing but this version looks like a keeper. Cross-checking the paperwork is something that the intern will handle before you are contacted. Also, we have inserted a flyer for the 5th Annual Student Gathering and for a series of Basic Stream Assessment Trainings happening this summer — including the 8th Annual StreamLink Training and Social. The preliminary registration forms are embedded in the flyer and can just be faxed to us at 785-843-6080.

It’s time to get ready for spring….

The new address is 412 East 9th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044.
Last fall, as we were juggling the sampling season and more staffing changes, we were also learning about the business end of a hammer. Our turn of the century grocery store front was in desperate need of a little TLC and creative brainstorming. The wall of huge south facing windows, original ceiling, and tongue in groove walls lovely ambiance. The move downstairs means we have a larger space, are easier to find, and ground level access—which makes getting ready for events MUCH easier! Unless we’re scattered to the wind covering events, there’s always someone here from 9-5 Monday—Friday.

We moved!!!!...but just downstairs.

Student Gathering continued from pg 1
park, the stream converges with the Arkansas River. Students from four high schools the part in presentations, hands-on activities, a mentor luncheon, and a service project. We chose Matfield Green for SG 2005 because it’s strongly contrasts Wichita. While gatherings are always held at different locations, each follows a generally consistent morning, lunch, afternoon planning formula. The morning is an opportunity for students to be exposed to a variety of water related topics. Students individually tailor their learning experience by pre-selecting their interest track. Grouping students by interest is a means of geographically expanding student’s learning community. Capitalizing on the social value of “breaking bread”, community members join the students for lunch. People with diverse perspectives eat with small groups of students and answer questions about their career paths. Throughout the years we have had a variety of water quality professionals, research scientists, farmers, architects, urban planners, elected officials, museum curators, water district managers, and artists. After the luncheon, the tables are turned. Students make presentations about their water experiences and answer questions from fellow students and the audience — usually made up of This summer SL and the Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and teachers and the invited mentors. Streams (KAWS) are pooling our resources to provide a statewide series of Basic Stream Assessment Workshops. These Afternoons are spent working on a workshops pair the basic SL training with an introduction to service learning project. In 2004 stream conservation and restoration experiences. The topics we cleared a sprawling algae we’ll address include stream bank restoration, stream protecbloom from the WATER Center’s tion strategies, non-point cleaned effluent stream and source pollution prevenplanted wetland grasses to help Basic Stream tion and identification, stabilize the developing aquatic Assessment Trainings and follow up support ecosystem. These are 2 day hands-on to make these things An equally beneficial workshops about getting to happen in your comconservation project is being know streams and how to munity. planned for this year. improve their condition. This “second tier” trainRegistration is $50. Teachers are overwhelmingly ing is part of a stateScholarships may be available. aware that high school is a very wide trend towards __________ (fill in the blank *Scott City community driven wayourself….) time for the students. June 15/16 or 22/23 ter quality protection Life planning looms on their and restoration (see horizon. The Gathering creates *Russell Aimee Polson’s WRAPS lasting memories but more August 18/19th article above). WRAPS importantly it helps students see programs have a tech*Wakarusa their future. nical edge but are August 25/26th centered on building Please let us know if there is community capacity to anything we can do to help make *Fredonia proactively address this happen for your students. July 14/15 or 21/22 water quality hazards. -MEG -TMD

WRAP and Roll at Clinton Lake
By Aimee Polson, KVHA Program Director
Clinton Lake was built in the 1970’s for the primary purpose of providing flood control, recreation, and drinking water for surrounding communities. Today the lake provides flood protection for 156 square miles of the Wakarusa River valley downstream from the dam, and is part of a network of lakes that helps control flooding on the Kansas, Missouri, and Mississippi Rivers. A portion of the lake is used to provide water, up to 10 million gallons per day, for Johnson, Osage, Franklin, and Shawnee county residents and nearly everyone in Douglas County. The most heavily used Federal reservoir for water supply in Kansas, the lake and surrounding areas are also used by over one million people annually for recreation. Clinton Lake provides many important benefits for Kansans, but as Bret Michaels of the legendary rock band Poison tells us, “Every rose has its thorn.” Intensified land use along the Wakarusa River has resulted in an increase of contaminants including fecal coliform bacteria flowing into the Wakarusa River and a rise in sedimentation rates into Clinton Lake. In other words, the “bowl” that holds the water is shrinking in size. A group of organizations, government agencies, educational institutions, and concerned citizens got together to figure out how to address the compromised integrity of Clinton Lake and the Upper Wakarusa Watershed (UWW). They devised a WRAPS (Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy) that was targeted towards Clinton Lake, UWW, and its tributaries. To learn more about the Upper Wakarusa Watershed or WRAPS programs, call KVHA at 840-0700 or email aimee@kvha.org.


The WRAPS approach focuses on facilitating a locally-led, watershed-based planning and management process that embodies a collaborative problemsolving approach involving all key stakeholder groups. The process involves assessing resource issues and opportunities within a watershed; developing a plan that outlines goals, objectives, and strategies to address priority needs; and securing adequate resources to implement the proposed plan. This watershed approach has been applied successfully in Kansas and throughout the country.

Historically, incentive based programs, which have been driven in part by the level of volunteerism available and the equitable distribution of program resources, have been widely used to assist landowners in implementing watershed restoration and protection practices. In recent years, targeting of program resources to geographic priority areas has become more widely adopted. A community level, watershed-based planning and management framework is needed to integrate program resources locally.

Current Topics: Grass Roots Make a Difference
By Alison L. Reber, KVHA Executive Director The condition of Kansas’ streams has greatly improved since the 1972 passage of the Clean Water Act (CWA).*
*The Clean Water Act in Kansas 25 Years Later; KDHE Pub. ZC8012 The essay below was written in the vein of our 2004 KDHE 319 grant proposal. The 319 grants are part of the provisions of the CWA. Our grant was funded in full - $158,900 plus our sweat equity of $105,800. –ALR reported to Congress that fecal coliform bacteria remained a major cause of stream impairments and that sediment and nutrients were impairing our lakes. New approaches are needed for managing these impairment. guidance and support. Watershed Restoration And Protection Strategies (WRAPS) are now being drafted for high priority watersheds throughout the state. Knowledge is the key to action only if it is paired with socially supported actionable behavior. Behavior can be compelled by any number of things, but generally, it can be predicted by common social values. One-on-one dialogue is the fabric of a communities values. Efforts such as volunteer stream teams increase individual’s water quality literacy and contribute to a communities overall knowledge base. As with many social legacies, these values are served on plates across our kitchen tables, on lunch room trays, and ironically even in the Value Meals found at the ubiquitous fast food joint on the corner of Urban Avenue and Rural Road.

The generally shared values of civic leaders, industrialists, and regulators were critical in order to pass the 1972 CWA. Along the way grassroots efforts anchored these values as our nation began the process of restoring and protecting streams, rivers and lakes. Using simple but elegant language, the Act set legacy baselines for water quality expectations. Over the long haul though, simplicity can be deceptively complex…. In any case, starting the process was a serious step toward social acceptance of water quality responsibilities. We’ve been able to dramatically reduce pollution by focusing on “point sources.” The methods used provided a steady reduction in pollutant concentrations despite the pressures from population growth and economic development. Today, (in Kansas) both fecal coliform and ammonia levels are generally found to be 1/10th the 1976 levels.* However, in 2002, Kansas

Improving the management of non-point source pollution is now our biggest water quality challenge.
Broad but mostly simple changes in our day to day behavior is the only way to improve the nebulousness of non-point water quality pollution. Resource protection comes in many forms. The health of our environment is inextricably linked to our social norms. A 1998 Roper Survey showed that the general public commonly holds environmental protection as being more critical than anything else including economic development. Also noted was

“(a) definite relationship between environmental knowledge, concerns and behaviors.”
(www.neetf.org.subs/1998summary.doc) Last spring Kansas took the next step towards cleaner water. Cohesive, cross-agency efforts have begun to reach back to the grassroots level for

MUDSCAPES: Getting Down and Dirty
By Meg Givens, KVHA Project Assistant
and moldable and ready for the kids to work on. The mud’s a medley of streamside and top soil collections from around the state with a bit of dime store sand and peat. Someone’s usually stashing the mud containers under the tables, filling the wash tubs, and unpacking the hand towels (cloth works WAY better than paper!), hand sanitizer, and stickers. The kids arrive in a rush… In the next 30 minutes they'll work through the 4 part cycle. It takes three people working in close tandem to keep the group moving. As person A leads one part, B & C re-prep the stage. Then B takes over for A and begins the next piece. Keeping everything moving—especially the mud is hard but exciting work. Two creative steps are sandwiched between two centering steps. The first step involves calming the children down as they come in from their last activity. Sitting on the ground they talk about what they saw out the window of the bus as they came to the festival, rainfall, and the water cycle. This gets the kids thinking about water in their surrounding and landscape of everyday life. The second step is to calmly and thoughtfully guide the children into the creative process. While still sitting with Alison, we give the children the “rules” for working at the mudscapes table. The children are told to approach the table with rolled up My employment at Kaw Valley Heritage Alliance began in early September of 2004. We were pinch hitting the move to our new office and burning up the highway from one event to another. I got a ball of wax explanation of KVHA, WRAPS, and StreamLink…. And then mudscapes. My initial response to Alison’s brainchild was “ You do WHAT with 50 gallons of river mud?!?” But I showed up for work the next day anyway and went with her to the Topeka Water Festival. I watched the whole process and the enthusiasm of the kids and quickly saw the lasting impact it was having on these children’s mind and ideas about their surrounding. I’ll explain the process below so that you can get an idea of what is involved in a “Mudscape” but this is definitely one of those “see it to believe it” experiences. Before the students arrive, the stage has to be set. Three long folding tables that are set up in a “T” and tarps are tightly fitted over the tables by hooking bungee cords to the tarp rivets. This really helps keep the tables, the kids, and the ground around the tables clean. Next comes the mud…. 20 or so containers each holding a couple of gallons of mud each are dumped onto the tables with a frugal amount of water (too much water makes it sloppy-runny.) The mud is “kneaded” until it is soft sleeves and find a spot around it, they are also told to use their hands, as if they were water molding it’s way through valleys and hills, to create what they see around them every day and to work together to decide how they will live.

Students become city planners, conservationists, land owners, and, well, forces of nature when we allow them to put their hands to work.
When everyone’s focused, we slowly work our way around the table quietly tapping children on the shoulder individually and whispering for them to go select items from a table set up a few feet away. (The approach seems to keep chaos in check; kids usually stay focused on their creations even when they notice the activity shifting.) The students begin to make landuse decisions, selecting prime locations for little wooden houses, farm fences, cows, pigs, horses, and chickens, long thin pieces of rubbery plastic that can simulate roads, green dish scrub sponges that look surprisingly like grass turf, matchbox cars, trucks and tractors, and tiny frogs, fish and bugs: anything that will bring the landscape to life. The third step, shifting to handwashing, is the most challenging one to facilitate. They are so tuned in to the little world
(Continued on page 7)

they have just created and the noise decibel around the table is above anywhere my voice can reach. It is a team effort to pry their little hands out of the mud for cleanup: coarse “washing” in tubs of dish water and cloths. We put stickers on the kids with clean hands so all helpers know who needs to stay out of the mud. The fourth and last piece is the wrap-up. Almost like a huddle, the group surveys their efforts and shares conservation ideas. Their hillsides have grasses and trees, natural water is separated from livestock, streams and lakes are filled with wildlife, and so on… Along with their watershed development, they give us an unusual insight into their social values and aspirations.

They’ve built what they believe the world should be...including what they’ve ever really learned , what they see, and what they want in the world around them. Each mudscape is as unique as its creators.

The Devil’s in the Details….
I have a background in early childhood education and know that sensory experiences, creative freedom, and social interaction give the mind the best opportunity to learn, remember, and apply ideas. Mudscapes is a wonderful balance of these educational principles. This activity definitely “sticks” The children come to the activity bouncing with “field trip” rush and the thrill of getting to do “the forbidden” - getting dirty! Twenty hyper kids and 50 gallons of mud should be a recipe for disaster— more than one teacher has requested a festival scheduled sans Mudscapes. I would have sympathized before last summer but this system is intense & slick…. What makes it work is being able to manage and focus energy. The rapid succession and careful execution of each step is integral to making the whole picture come out for the kids. Without the centering activities, there would be no focus to the activity. Without the creative aspect, the activity amount to a chance to get dirty fingernails. And, while it is true, we lose a lot of mud to the wash tubs, with few exceptions, the students leave the activity as clean as they arrived. If you get a chance, visit us at the next water festival. You’ll enjoy it almost as much as the kids!! -MEG

Miniature House Painters Visit!
In a typical year, Mudscapes manipulables become a part of 70+ landscape creations. Materials have a high “mortality” rate. Scouring variety stores statewide we raise eyebrows as we buy up all the farm animals, wildlife notions, and relevant miniatures we can find. Since the office remodeling dust has settled, we’ve been pining to exercise our new found painting skills. A rainy afternoon and volunteers from KU’s Alternative Spring Breaks Program provided the perfect opportunity! All the wooden houses, barns, fences and trees have been painstakingly hand painted to help them withstand the washing and scrubbing it takes to keep Mudscapes a fresh adventure for each new group. Many thanks for the help!

Non-News News…. Alison and Travis visited Matfield Green a few weeks ago, became acquainted with the town greeter (a very friendly, very small bulldog), shared a meal with a few of the locals, and spent some quality time finding a “short cut” to I-35.

Kansas StreamLink 412 E. 9th Street Lawrence, KS 66044-2629

Kansas StreamLink’s Dragonfly plans to visit you each spring and fall!
Amid standard columns, features, factoids, and occasional frivolities, we hope to build stronger statewide awareness of local water education efforts. We hope you find the articles informative and inspiring enough to become a regular reader. Guest writings, reflections, artwork, and creative inspirations are wholeheartedly invited for consideration. Many thanks and enjoy!

Our Windows have Minnows!
Volunteers from the E.A.R.T.H. program at KU’s Center for Community Outreach painted our store front windows with a colorful Kansas watershed scene. The mural, designed by Alison Reber and Rachael Sudlow, took several Saturdays to paint and is an inspiring asset to the office. The stream section of the painting is reflected in a native fish tank giving the appearance of a stream filled with darters, shiners, and mad toms. The tank is also the focal point of a small central sitting area.