Today’s post is a guest post by Beargrass & Waterfront Naturalists, a summer program for high school students offered by River City Paddle Sports.   

Beargrass and Waterfront Naturalists: A focus on ecological research via a canoe

by Lauren Brown, Genesis Montasia Leemore & Nadia Randolph

(L to R) Beargrass & Waterfront Naturalists Lauren Brown, Nadia Randolph, and Genesis Montasia Leemore.

Three young people and their teacher Mrs. Angela Page are the first cadre of a new program of River City Paddle Sports:  The Beargrass and Waterfront Naturalists. The naturalists Nadia Randolph, Genesis Leemore and Lauren Brown spent last year in year long advanced ecology class focused on independent science research on Beargrass Creek. During the month of June, they have become Voyageur Canoe Leaders.  They have developed a curriculum for area summer programs that engage students that introduces participants to canoeing, river safety, Beargrass Creek watershed cultural/natural history and science research investigation skills. The naturalists will be leading students from the Lincoln Foundation Math and Science summer program, The Kentucky Academy of Sciences/ Louisville Science Center’s Future STEM professional’s summit, Waterfront Gardens and area Metro Parks Community Centers.

“This summer I am going to help open people’s eyes about the things that are harming Beargrass Creek and the habitat along its banks. I hope more kids take the opportunity to engage and help to make a difference …”   Genesis Leemore, Beargrass & Waterfront Naturalist

The programs goals are to:

  • Obtain better understand of our waterways from an interactive canoeing experience,
  • Learn about the unique wildlife habitat in the Beargrass Creek area and means of preserving and reviving the area
  • Understand stormwater management techniques and their direct impact on our waterways
  • Examine the waterway’s position of preservation and recreation.
  • Encourage area students to use Beargrass Creek and Waterfront Park as a venue to conduct independent science research.  Enhance the research skills and support for individual students who want to conduct a study for their science fair or school project.

“I am excited for the summer naturalist position because I am passionate about Louisville’s waterways.  I want to educate students about the issues facing Beargrass Creek, so they can take action to help keep it clean. I just love the waterfront and am glad that I get to do my part to help more people learn about its natural wonders.” Lauren Brown

“I am looking forward to this summer naturalist program because growing up, I loved going to swim in the River. Now I want to learn more about the river, its biodiversity and the overall water quality. I want to help other students conduct their own independent research projects on Louisville’s natural environment.”  Nadia Randolph

“This summer I am going to help open people’s eyes about the things that are harming Beargrass Creek and the habitat along its banks. I hope more kids take the opportunity to engage and help to make a difference in the cleanliness of Beargrass Creek and Waterfront Park. I want to share my love of ecology and science research.”  Genesis Montasia Leemore

The Beargrass and Waterfront Naturalist program is sponsored by River City Paddle Sports based at the Community Boat House on Louisville’s Waterfront. It was made possible by a generous donation by Vidya Ravichandran, an ardent supporter of High School Independent Science Research.

Background: This past school year, Mrs. Angela Page, Ecology Teacher at Louisville Male High School, took her class to Beargrass Creek and the Waterfront every other day for investigation, independent research and data collection. Three of the students are participating this summer in the Waterfront and Beargrass Naturalist program. Two students recently graduated and will be attending U of L and EKU and the third will be a junior. The goal of the program is to provide teaching experience for the naturalist, to further enhance the research opportunities on the creek, and to work with summer enrichment programs by offering student-led science research focused canoe trips.