Ecosystem Investigators STREAM EXPLORATION


Streams are home to a wide array of living things all functioning as part of an intricate system. Regardless of what stream you look in – from a pristine mountain stream to a little creek in a city, you can find similar organisms living there. Check out this video about life that lives in streams.
Now, let's dive a little deeper to learn how you can identify organisms you might find and how they work together as part of the ecosystem.
Identify Stream Organisms is a project led by researchers at CMU to help people learn to identify insects and other organisms that live in our streams. Take a minute to explore the website and then come back here for tips and activities to help you learn how to look closely and see these animals.

After exploring the website and watching the video, enjoy  the activity below.

Click here to begin! 

P.S. ​You do not need to print this worksheet. You can simply make your own by drawing a box on a piece of paper. 

Stream Food Web
Want to learn more about various organisms that live in streams and how they depend on one another to survive? In the following activity, you will make observations about a model food web, based upon the items that are found living in and around the streams of Frick Park.
Then, you will use your observations to answer questions about the organisms and the relationship they develop with each other, the stream, and the surrounding parkland. 
Begin by checking out a model of a stream food web by downloading the file below. 
It's perfectly fine if the model looked tangled and overwhelming at first.
If it did, try taking a second look and see if you can work out what it's telling you. Once you've looked around and gotten a sense of it, download this worksheet to help you work through what you're seeing.



After completing the activities, find a stream near you!

Stephen and Nyjah recently explored a stream in Frick Park. 
Using Google Maps and the exploration techniques in the video, find and explore a stream near you.
  • Did you find any of the same animals? Anything different?
  • Were you able to identify what you found?



Parks do not exist without people. We restore parks for your joy and well-being. Pittsburghers need spaces where fathers can play catch with their sons, couples reconnect, family’s picnic. Parks, in return, do more than we realize. They clean the air, filter stormwater, lower stress…provide a natural sanctuary in forests of steel and glass surrounded by rivers of asphalt. Like anything alive, if neglected a park will suffer. And ultimately perish.

We believe in the power of parks. We are all in. Are you?