Memories of the Creek

Lynn Hughes writes to share her thoughts on the creek:

IMG_1606My favorite sentiment about the creek is the dam-building that used to go on every spring. As the weather warmed up and grass grew thick and lush along the streamside, kids of all ages would begin work on at least one dam above the stone bridge to the office. They’d pile up rocks from the stream bed and pieces of wood, plugging holes with grass and dirt from the banks. Gradually, the water filled a pool behind the dam — occasionally so large and deep that teachers would begin to worry about safety.

The staff room was at the opposite end of the building from where it is now, and we could observe the kids as they worked. As intent as the kids were on creating a pond, the teachers were just as intent on debating what they saw. Although it was much more cooperative than the fort-building that went on in Monkey-land, there were arguments and power struggles about construction decisions and, occasionally, competition for building materials when more than one dam was in the works. So we worried about what the social climate was and at what point teachers should intervene. (We usually waited for the kids to request some help.)

Another facet of the staff-room discussion was the degree of environmental destruction going on — disturbing streambed habitat as well as the loss of grass along the banks. Even though the crayfish and sallies were there every year and even though the grass always grew back, some of us worried. And some others of us contended that the amount of learning going on — social skills, hydrology, physics, and more — was of greater value than any temporary changes to the creek. And temporarily is what they always were. Sometimes we required kids to take down a dam that was so well built that its pond looked dangerous. But more often, nature took care of it — the dam silted up, or the current after a storm washed it away.

Kids don’t build dams on the creek these days. It’s not one of our springtime rituals anymore. I miss it.

Lisa Zahren and Homer Robinson, current parents, write to give their thoughts on the For the Good of the Creek Campaign:

creek rootsThe reason we have donated to the Good of the Creek Campaign is for the health of the trees in Monkeyland and in the Kindergarten and Nursery Playgrounds. Trees are so essential to the memories of a Miquon childhood. When our oldest son started Miquon in kindergarten, it was a personal ambition of his to learn how to climb a tree. Within a few weeks of practicing in the old pine tree on the kindergarten playground, he was able to master tree-climbing. This tree continues to hold a magical place in his heart. He mentions it as the gold standard whenever evaluating the “climbability” of a tree. In kindergarten, he also spent the year observing and studying a mature tulip poplar in Monkeyland. Both of these trees’ root systems are now at risk from erosion, as are the roots of many of the other wonderful mature trees up and down the creek bed. Even with the work which is planned to control the erosion along the creek, many of these trees are already going to be lost. If this work is not done, however, many more trees will be lost and the landscape of Miquon will be greatly changed for generations. The rehabilitation of the creek goes beyond the flow of water, it is an entire ecosystem which is at stake.

creek snow

Christie and John Hastings, alum parents and grandparents, sent this humorous memory:

Our friend Cath Chapman taught at Miquon in the 1950’s and 60’s. One winter day after recess, a youngster came back in sucking on an icicle. Before Cath could reprimand him, he piped up “It’s OK, Cath. I washed it off in the stream.”

Thank you again to Richard and Alice Mandel for inspiring our community to restore the creek with a $30,000 challenge gift, and thank you to everyone who has already made a gift towards the For the Good of the Creek Campaign. You can still make a contribution to the For the Good of the Creek Campaign by clicking on the Give link to the left. Please write “Creek” in the comments box.

Good of the Creek Shirt
Show your support! Donors who make gifts of $100 or more will receive a special For the Good of the Creek t-shirt. (If you’ve given a gift of $100 or more already, your shirt should be arriving this week.) Many thanks to Mike and Nicole Batchelor for this beautiful design.

Share your memories! Do you have memories of the creek to share? Send us a note, a photo, or a 1-2 minute video. We’ll try to post as many as we can throughout the summer. Email your memories to