Creek Freaks

WHAT IS A CREEK FREAK? Creek Freaks are middle school students making a splash to help the environment. Each session takes students outside to explore local streams and learn how healthy trees, shrubs, and grasses protect clean water and wildlife. Students are then empowered as local stream experts and are encouraged to continue advocating for and working to improve water quality.We'll let the Creek Freaks tell you themselves!

This program is great for anyone working with youth, from Izaak Walton League chapters to after-school programs and summer camps. 

  • Want to start an outdoor education program but don’t know where to start?
  • Looking for hands-on activities for your classroom or an existing youth program?
  • Have you been looking for a way to share your love of the outdoors with kids in your community?

Video: Experience Creek Freaks

Creek Freaks could be the answer! The Izaak Walton League can offer you several ways to get started:

  • Materials. Visit the Creek Freaks Web site to download the curriculum and extension activities. The Web site also is a place where you can post data, videos, photos, and stories about streams and learn about other streams in your community.
  • Attend a training. The Izaak Walton League runs two-day comprehensive training on all of the hands-on indoor and stream monitoring activities for the Creek Freaks program. The training will include a basic overview of stream ecology, guidance on how to manage the logistics of conducting on-going youth programs, and hands-on training in conducting activities from the Creek Freaks curriculum. Contact IWLA Clean Water Program Director Danielle Donkersloot at for information about upcoming trainings.
  • Equipment loan. The Izaak Walton League national office in Gaithersburg, Maryland, has a full set of monitoring equipment, hands-on activity materials, and boots for stream monitoring. Contact IWLA Clean Water Program Director Danielle Donkersloot at for more information.

This program is a partnership of the Izaak Walton League of America, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, and U.S. Forest Service.

Students Enthusiastic About Stream Education

Dwight Lydell (Michigan) Chapter member Bob Stegmier took a group of middle school students on a stream adventure they won’t soon forget. But don’t take our word for it – read the students’ essays about their experiences. (“Adrenaline rush” is rarely a phrase we hear from our adult stream monitors!)

invertebrate pic_sm

Additional Resources

Resources for Conserving Streams and Wetlands

Jul 24, 2015, 11:22 AM
Whether you’re new to stream monitoring or an experienced water wader, the League has the resources you need to succeed.
External link:

Whether you’re new to stream monitoring or an experienced water wader, the League has the resources you need to succeed.

Field Guide to Aquatic Macroinvertebrates ($8.95)
This handy reference tool is designed to help volunteer monitors identify aquatic macroinvertebrates when conducting water quality surveys. The brochure is laminated for durable outdoor use. Diagrams of macroinvertebrate larvae and adults are grouped by biological type and display common features that characterize each. Symbols indicate pollution sensitivity (sensitive, less sensitive, and tolerant) based on the League’s Save Our Streams (SOS) classification system.

S.O.S. for America’s Streams: A Guide to Water Quality Monitoring ($19.95)
This 28-minute DVD demonstrates biological stream monitoring methods, macroinvertebrate identification techniques, and how to adopt a stream. This is a great resource for training volunteers or introducing schools or community groups to water quality monitoring.

Handbook for Stream Enhancement and Stewardship ($34.95)
This handbook provides information to help readers assess and document local stream conditions, implement enhancement plans, and maintain the stream and corridor in its enhanced state of better health and balance. Written in clear, accessible language, the handbook includes:

  • An overview of stream corridors, beginning with the concept of the watershed and looking more closely at hydrologic, vegetation, and land-use characteristics.
  • Essential steps in assessing the condition of a watershed.
  • How to plan for, carry out, and document a detailed stream survey.
  • Methods of stream enhancement and the process of implementing them in appropriate conditions.
  • Information on stream corridor enhancement in range lands and pasture lands.

Handbook for Wetlands Conservation and Sustainability ($39.95)
This handbook explains wetland ecology, functions, and values and provides tips for organizing your community to monitor, conserve, and restore local wetlands. It includes wetland definitions, monitoring instructions, project ideas, regulatory avenues for wetland protection, case studies, and an extensive resource section.

All of these resources are available from the League’s publisher, McDonald and Woodward. Order online at, by phone at (800) 233-8787, or by e-mail at

  • SOS monitoring_500x240


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