4-H splishes, splashes at water ecology camp

Aug. 07, 2014 @ 01:19 PM

Ten children strapped on life jackets and pulled on water shoes Wednesday morning before jumping into green canoes for a ride down the Yadkin River. Under the cloudy sky, the weather was chilly, but the excitement was warming.

It was one of the trips 4-H club members have made this week to three river basins as part of the 4-H2O camp. Old faces and new graced the camp.

Daniela Berry, 14, said she was a camper at 4-H2O last year and signed up to be a leader this year.

“It was really fun last year, so I thought I would come back,” Daniela said.

The camp takes kids to different river basins to learn how to canoe, determine water quality and look at organisms living in the stream.

“A lot of these kids live on farms that have ponds,” Daniela said. “The macro- and micro-vertebrates will be in their pond at home. They sampled different streams and creeks, so they can do that at home and determine if their pond is a healthy or an unhealthy pond.”

On Monday, the children visited Cove Creek Bible Camp on Lake Hickory. Kevin Hining, fisheries biologist from the North Carolina Wildlife Commission, showed the children a fish-shocking boat, which sends out a pulse of electricity through the water to temporarily stun the fish so that they may be collected for analysis. Hining showed different ways to test the water to determine its quality. The children also dissected a live fish under anesthetic.

“We got to see its beating heart,” Nolan Wallace, 10, cried excitedly.

Today, the group will visit the New River and camp overnights on its banks.

Madelyn Whisnant, 10, usually joins the 4-H Club when they participate in horse camps. However, she decided to try something new this week and had no regrets.

“I really like all that we’re doing,” Madelyn said. “It’s a lot of different activities. You go to a lot of lakes and rivers. There are a lot of physical activities like gathering fish and bugs.”