Trout Are Made of Trees Crayon Mural

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Designed for the NYC and NYC Watersheds Trout in the Classroom program

Made possible with funds from the Catskill Watershed Corporation in partnership with New York City Department of Environmental Protection

Conceived by Lilli Ayvazian, NYC area TIC Coordinator and the NYC DEP Education Team

    To help young students learn about the geology and biology of a trout stream habitat.  Designed for Kindergarten to 2nd grade students.
    The clean cold streams of the Catskill Mountains provide an ideal habitat for trout and a reliable source of drinking water for over 8 million New York City residents.  The health of a stream depends on many factors including vegetation, surrounding land, forested cover and substrate.  New York City's watershed steams and surrounding lands are monitored and taken care of in order to protect the valuable resource of clean, cool and fresh water.

    A healthy stream has many important parts.  First, it has a partially to fully rocky substrate (stream bed), such as gravel or boulders.  As the cool water flows, it meanders (weaves back and forth) over and around this substrate.  The pattern of rocks and gravel makes the water act differently in different parts of the stream.  Sometimes, the water pools in flatter, calmer areas and the water flow slows.  In other areas, the highly variable substrate creates riffles—the areas of bubbly, white water—that help oxygenate the water.  When water flows quickly without interruption by substrate, this is a run.

    A healthy stream also holds and is bordered by many living things.  Aquatic macroinvertebrates, such as insects, mollusks, and crustaceans, live in every level of the water column.  Fish and plants also live within the stream.  Then, the riparian zone—the area next to the stream—must also be full of life.  A healthy riparian zone has trees, shrubs, and/or herbaceous plants, as well as animal wildlife.  This riparian zone (the roots and debris) helps filter surface water runoff and groundwater that might carry sediments and other pollutants that would otherwise enter the stream.

Trout are Made of Trees by April Pulley Sayre, Watercolor paints and brushes, white crayon, 15 ft. x 3 ft. white butcher paper or art paper.

Preparation: Prepare the mural by drawing a mountain and stream habitat (outlines only) with colored crayons.  In the stream draw rocks and leaves (using colored crayons) and macroinvertebrates, trout, trout eggs and other stream animals in white crayon.

Read "Trout Are Made of Trees" with students.  Have students use watercolor paints to color in the mural.  Students will enjoy uncovering the camouflaged macroinvertebrates and trout.

    Try to identify the animals in the stream they have uncovered, discuss the use of camouflage and make food web connections.

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