Friday, December 19, 2014

University biology club to visit Elkhart
Posted on March 20, 2013 at 1:00 a.m.

ELKHART — A group of students from Valparaiso University will be visiting Elkhart to help maintain a local river.

The students, many of them members of the Valparaiso University Biology Club, will be working at the Elkhart Conservation Club property on Cobus Creek Sunday, March 24.

The club will arrive at the creek around 11: 30 a.m. and leave at 6 p.m.

Grayson Davis, professor of biology at Valparaiso University, said though there isn’t a set of procedures, the group is expected to provide maintenance to the river Sunday through a program called Hoosier Riverwatch.

The group monitors the river, examining it in different ways. They’ll complete a form that will give them an overall quality index, Davis said.

The goal of the group is to help make the river more habitable for fish.

The group has often visited Elkhart in the past. Davis said the group usually visits Elkhart twice a year. In total, the group has completed more than 50 trips with eight more events planned this spring. The club provides 1,500 hours of service per year to communities around the area.

Other bodies of the water the club has worked with include the Brandywine Creek, the McCoy Creek and the Dowagiac river in Michigan and the Little Calumet river, Trail Creek and Baugo Creek in Indiana.

The Elkhart’s Conservation Club’s grounds on Cobus Creek include a rustic cabin and a 35,000-capacity trout hatchery. Recent wildlife sightings at the club include turkeys, owls, sandhill cranes, coyotes, deer and foxes.

“It’s hard to believe you’re still in Elkhart when you are on the grounds,” Davis said. “It’s amazing that you can walk down this hill and see a place like that.”

For this particular event, there will be six to eight students and some members of the community.

“I have a small group of highly motivated kids. They find a lot of satisfaction in this,” he said.

Anyone from the Elkhart community interested is also invited to attend and help, said Davis.

Anyone interested in participating on Sunday should be ready for a walk in the woods; they should bring rain gear in case it rains and a pair of old gloves.

“It’s a chance to get out of the town, get out of the dorm and get outdoors with like-minded people. We always see something pretty; we do some good. We have a cookout, and we have some fun. They get to see or do things that ordinarily they would never do.”