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Ellerbe Creek
Watershed Association
Working TogetherMeet the newest members of the team that keeps ECWA working - Director of Conservation, Cherri Smith and CTNC Diversity Intern, Val Quintero.
Join ECWAJoin ECWA. Your family can join ECWA for as little as 11 cents per day. Help us protect the creek, restore the creek and connect the community to the creek.
Explorer's ClubSign up for nature hikes, Family Explorers Club, preserve workdays, and Green Infrastructure workshops. They're all happening at ECWA nature preserves!
Creek SmartIntroducing the new creeksmart.org, an easy-to-use and comprehensive resource for learning how to reduce your stormwater footprint!
The Rocks Nature Preserve
Youth Conservation Corps

at Glennstone Nature Preserve

Image from ECWA wildlife camera
at Glennstone Nature Preserve

ECWA 2014 Creek Tour

Glennstone Nature Preserve

Artwork by Melanie Middleton's kindergarten class from EK Powe Elementary School about their science class field trips to the 17 Acre Wood

Bald Eagle at Beaver Marsh Preserve
(photo by j meehan)

Introducing the 2017 Beaver Queen

FUR-EDDIE MERCURY

photo by Lyn Steuart

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Upcoming Events

 

Behind an abandoned movie theater, just off Interstate 85 and above an urban wetland, 10 young people spent last week blazing half a mile of trails.

Maybe not quite blazing – more like chopping, pulling, digging, filling, grading and bridging half a mile through heat, bugs, brush and matted tangles of English ivy,...

The Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association, City of Durham Stormwater Services, American Rivers, Downtown Durham, Inc., and the Triangle J Council of Governments are conducting a study in the Ellerbe Creek Watershed to identify opportunities for small stormwater retrofits (e.g. green roofs, rain gardens) with the potential to improve water quality in the creek.

It’s bawdy, it’s irreverent, but it also bills itself as family-friendly, and all the money raised goes for an environmental cause — to improve the water quality of Ellerbe Creek.

It is the annual Beaver Queen Pageant, and the 13th annual contest for the queen of the wetlands will be held Saturday, June 3, in Duke Park. Just about everything that is said at the pageant or published on the Beaver Queen website is a pun...

“Fur-Eddie Mercury” on Saturday was crowned the 2017 Beaver Queen after a competitive Beaver Queen Pageant that included singing, comedy and lots of double entendres.

The annual Beaver Queen Pageant, held the first Saturday in June at Duke Park, is a fundraiser for the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association. Funds are raised in large part by guests and contestants “bribing” judges — legally — to get their votes as well as participants paying $5 per vote.

The thirteenth annual Beaver Queen Pageant is this Saturday in Duke Park. The Clarion Content is a long-time fan.It is the big annual fundraiser for the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association. Ellerbe Creek is one of our area’s most important watersheds and environmentally diverse habitats.

It all started with a group of individuals trying to save a beaver den from an Interstate Highway. This year the theme of the Beaver Queen is the Wizard of Gnaws. (eg. Oz).

While out fishing on a lake with her father, 7-year-old Laura Smith lost one of her baby teeth. As the tooth was falling out, she hooked a big fish.

“That’s one of our family folk tales,” said Smith, now a parent as well as a stormwater expert with the city of Durham. “When families spend time in nature together, they are building the foundation for a lifelong environmental ethic, not to mention forming great memories.”

From Allibay and Watery Branch to Pinhook and Allergy Creek, the history of Ellerbe and South Ellerbe creeks is long and colorful. During his 1701 trek through the wilderness of the Carolinas, John Lawson headed east from Occaneechi Town (near what is now Hillsborough). Lawson wrote of hiking 14 difficult miles, "a sad stoney way," to the next village, called Adshusheer.

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Learn to Love Durham’s Ellerbe Creek

While out fishing on a lake with her father, 7-year-old Laura Smith lost one of her baby teeth.

ECWA Beaver Marsh
ECWA Beaver Marsh

As the tooth was falling out, she hooked a big fish.

“That’s one of our family folk tales,” said Smith, now a parent as well as a stormwater expert with the city of Durham. “When families spend time in nature together, they are building the foundation for a lifelong environmental ethic, not to mention forming great memories.”

Smith will be on hand Saturday to help local residents explore their urban backyard on a free tour of the city’s nature preserves, sponsored by the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association (ECWA).

Four preserves located on the banks of the Ellerbe Creek are on the tour, with a fifth tour stop in the city’s North Street neighborhood that will teach residents what they can do at home to help improve water quality around the Triangle.

Chris Dreps, the association’s executive director, is eager for the public to discover The Rocks, a brand new preserve on the tour.

“I think this is a place where some kids will fall in love with creeks,” he said.

The Rocks Preserve features a looping, wooded trail that dips down to the creek’s edge. Rainwater from around the county runs through this creek, past heaps of rock with their own stories to tell. One splintered stone between the trail and the water’s edge looks as if it was shattered by a lightning strike or Thor’s hammer.

“We want people to be at the preserves, enjoying their creeks,” Dreps said. “We believe it has to be a part of the fabric of everyday life.”

Ellerbe Creek
Ellerbe Creek
SHAWN ROCCO File N&O photo

The association’s education and outreach coordinator, Chris Sajdak, is most excited about an animal rehabilitation presentation that will take place at The Rocks.

“You can learn what and what not to do when you encounter an injured wild animal,” Sajdak said.

Other stops on the tour include the 17-acre Wood, the oldest of the four preserves. An ecologist will take visitors on a scavenger hunt and help identify species of plants and animals that can be found in Durham back yards.

“You’re going to see animals that live in your city,” Dreps said. “This is the actual nature of your city.”

Visitors to the Beaver Marsh Preserve will find experts from the N.C. Herpetological Society presenting some of the snakes and lizards who call the Triangle home. Boots and nets will be provided to kids who wish to join a critter hunt at the preserve’s beaver pond. Pearl Mill Preserve, the smallest of the four preserves, will have its industrial past presented by local historian John Schelp. There will be a craft activity for the public, featuring dyes made from native plants.

“We tend to open a lot of the land we protect,” Dreps said. “The intent is for there to be open space to protect the creek and make it an asset to the Triangle region.”

“By carving out these little preserves,” Smith said, “that helps the big picture.”

Some other activities that afternoon will be building a birdfeeder for migratory birds and learning bird calls.

“If we provide (wildlife) with the space to be a part of the fabric of the community,” Dreps said, “it will enrich the community. That makes the city special.”


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DURHAM NEWS - OCTOBER 5, 2016 1:53 AM

BY STEVE BYDAL
Correspondent