A Walk in the Creek

This past Saturday was our much awaited Walk in Wicopee Creek at Fishkill Farms. After all the rain we had leading up to today’s hike, I was a bit apprehensive about the condition of the creek, but the conditions were perfect for small humans to traverse the creek bed safely and confidently in search of critters of all sorts.

I have to first off comment on just how fantastic Fishkill Farms is as a venue for nature adventures with children. The topography is so incredibly varied that the possibilities for the types of exploration are endless.Additionally, there are all these little, magical places hidden throughout the farm’s almost 300-acres which lend themselves perfectly to children’s play. For another example of this check out our summer solstice celebration in the fairy woods.

The kids arrived in their boots at the picnic tables this morning ready to meet the creek and were greeted with a pile of books about streams and ponds and their aquatic wildlife. We had stories about otters and dragonflies and frogs. We had reference books with illustrations of some of the larvae and nymphs which might be living down the hill in the creek we would soon be exploring. We had the lure of small magnifying glasses and seining screens. And we had a rousing read of Frog in the Bog by Karma Wilson and Joan Rankin, to further whet their appetites for critter catching.

We hiked down through the farm, past the vegetable gardens and through some wildflower meadows to a clearing where we could access the creek. “Enter quietly and find your very own spot to sit and just watch the creek for a few minutes,” I told them. “Let’s see what kinds of creatures might be around here just by sitting and watching.” The kids crept along the creek bed with reverence, though fighting the pull of the creek to sit still proved a bit too challenging. They waded quietly along the creek’s edge looking into the clear water before coming to me for their screens. Parents quickly joined the kids, shedding socks and shoes and taking to the cool water of the creek on this steamy summer morning.

At first, the kids didn’t know what they were catching, but the first sights of damselfly larvae and water sliders skittering around our little containers of creek water on the shore filled them with wonder and excitement. I must admit that the grown-ups spent a little more time examining the findings than did the kids, however, who were very content to capture as many creatures as time allowed. We had tadpoles and tiny wiggling worms and squiggly nymphs of various sorts and tried our best to identify them with the resources at hand. They did enjoy looking at the creatures magnified through the lenses, and the littlest explorers wanted to spend time with the eye droppers we used to transfer the critters into viewing vessels.

When it was time to clean up, it took us a bit of time to pull the kids away from the creek, and dry them semi-sufficiently for the hike back up to the farm. We took our time on the way back up, admiring the wildflowers and the ladybugs hiding among the Queen Anne’s Lace. When we got back, we took some time to share a bit about our adventures and to learn song called Water Bugs that played in my head for the next three days!

Like last time, we lingered over picnic lunches on the terrace and several families stayed to pick the farm’s remaining blueberries as well as the sugar-sweet plums which dropped easily from the heavily laden branches of the orchard’s plum trees.

Another sweet morning on the farm.


  1. Oh wow, Gina, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your camping adventure with friends. We are headed out soon!
    -Rachel Hansen, Sleepy Hollow
    [a.k.a. mom to Cordelia & Ava Martin]

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