Learn to Love the River

Discover what makes the French Broad River so special and learn about the many ways it connects our community.



Hello river lovers and welcome to the second issue of our Learn to Love the River series! For the past week we've been taking time to appreciate the little beauties in our world. This might be some nice wildflowers in your back yard, fat bumblebees flying around the neighborhood, or the sound of birds outside your window. In this issue we'll be taking a deep dive to explore one of our favorite little beauties in the river, the Dragonfly! Below you will find a great video about these amazing creatures and guidance for finding some of your own. We hope you enjoy!


The Otherworldly Mouths of Dragonflies

For some people Dragonflies are one of the most beautiful looking insects on the river. However, before they develop their vibrant colors and delicate wings they start their life in the water as a nymph. In this stage Dragonfly Nymphs act as one of the most effective predators in the river. In order to fill this role they've developed certain adaptations to give them an edge over their competition. Their mouths in particular, are straight out of your favorite 80's sci-fi movie with Sigourney Weaver. PBS's Closer Look series can tell you more about the incredible hunting methods of these creatures. 


Hunt for Some Dragons

If you're able to safely visit a local stream, then this is a great time of year to hunt for Dragonfly nymphs. You'll want to wear shoes and clothes that can get wet, and bring a wide container to fill with water and observe the creatures you find. If you have one, a net or mesh lined container is also very helpful. These are a few of our favorite spots to look for Dragonflies:

  • Turn over rocks in the stream, you'll often find bugs clinging to the bottom.
  • Search through clumps of leaves in the water, we call these leaf packs and they're a great place for critters to hide. 
  • If you brought a net, brush it through the roots and plants hanging over the stream bank.

Once you've found a bug, place them gently in your water filled container. Observe how they move through the water, if they have any cool body parts, and how they interact with other bug species you've found. You can use this chart to help you identify the bugs that you find.

Remember to place everything back where you find it. This includes rocks, leaves, and your new critter friends. This way you can minimize your impact on the stream and the creatures that live there.

If you find something cool post it to Facebook or Instagram and tag RiverLink in it. We'd love to see it!  


A Little Dose of Inspiration

This poem comes to us from a 6th grade student at The Learning Community School. We are always impressed with the creativity and talent of these kids, and we love to hear what the river means to them! Our annual Voices of the River Contest is a showcase of these incredible works. We're excited to announce this years winners during our virtual Earth Day Kids celebration on April 22nd at 11 AM. 

The looking glass

The rippling water

Like the iron in a forge

The beauty

Like the delicate wings of a dragonfly

The Calmness and the stillness

Mixing with the rushing

Forming true peacefulness

The sun rises over the mountain 

Kissing the water

Forming small rainbows

The looking glass

The rippling iron water

The beauty

The calmness

With thriving fish

Is the definition 

Of tranquility

- Leo B.B.

There are countless stories in our community about the impact the river has had on people. Everyone's experience with the river is a little different and we'd love to hear about yours! If you would like to share how the river has played a role in your life click below to tell us your story. Our favorites will be featured in future issues of the Learn to Love the River series!

Staying connected to the river and each other.

We are thinking of you all in these uncertain times and hope you are staying healthy and safe! Thanks to your generous support we are still able to continue our Education, Water Quality and Land Conservation programs, but we couldn't do it without you! Please consider donating to help support our programs. Every little bit helps!