This afternoon, I joined my sister-in-law, Jessica Haucke (a water research specialist with UW Stevens Point), down at Camp Creek (a Class 1 trout stream a few miles from the farm) to collect samples and scope out the waters for the upcoming Driftless Curiosity, Stream Study & Fly Fishing workshop July 17th. As we waded through the tributaries, curiosity preoccupied my stream of consciousness, and I found my mental string of questioning irresistible, and Jessica was happy to answer my inquisitions. How can we tell this is a healthy stream? What can we tell from the plants in the water? What do the trout eat? What do they need from the stream? How do the cows affect the stream banks? How can we tell if there is excess nitrogen or phosphorus in the water? And on and on. The thrill of each discovery and critical ecological connection paired with the cool pull of the current, the sound of ancient droplets traveling over age old rocks, and the smell of a freshly snapped mint sprig captivated the evergreen wonder that resides in the childlike alcove at my center.

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