Welty leads programs at Confluence

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SOUTH BELOIT - Rain barrel making and plant and animal identification are just a few of the events the Welty Environmental Center has lined up for the public at Nature at the Confluence this summer.

Welty and the Confluence have partnered to provide the programming.

The Welty Center is presenting programs for the Stream Team Initiative at Nature at the Confluence, whose mission is to educate, restore and protect nature. Welty Environmental Center Executive Director Samantha Foster said the idea is to create stream stewards and take ownership of the river. She said the initiative seeks to foster the creation of citizen scientists to join the stream team.

"It's helping to make (the Confluence) a place that they look forward to going to and enjoying the outdoors," Foster said.

The first program, which is free, is calling for all stream troopers ages 5 to 13 to study Turtle Creek and Kelly Creek and see what organisms reside in the creeks' ecosystems on July 19. From 9 a.m. - noon, the young troopers can explore the streams, search for dragonfly larvae, snails and crayfish and learn about what those organisms tell us about the health of the river. Participants are asked to wear waders or boots if they have them, but waders also will be provided for use. The program will be held at Nature at the Confluence, 306 Dickop St., South Beloit.

From 4 - 7 p.m. on July 19, the Welty Center is hosting an adult rain barrel-making class to conserve water. A $30 fee includes all of the materials needed, step-by-step instructions and a demonstration. The program will be held at the Confluence. This program is full, but Foster said more programs could potentially be offered in the future if there's enough interest.

On July 22, adults are invited to join the Stream Team for a morning of learning about basic plant identification techniques and how to identify the plants that don't belong near local streams. The program is free and will be held at the Confluence from 9 a.m. - noon. A similar plant identification program will be held for children age 5 to 13 from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. on Aug. 9 at the Confluence.

"It's a chance to get in the water, get a closer look at the area and look at what we do and don't want out there while also doing some clean up in and around the streams," Foster said.

Welty also will be hosting a youth program at the Confluence from noon - 3 p.m. on Aug. 27 called "Every Last Drop, Clean Water for All." The children will spend time exploring the Confluence streams to study surface water in action, then they will build mini wetlands to learn more about the water cycle and how actions on land affect the quality of water supply.

For a complete list of programs, go to weltycenter.com.

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