Learn to Love the River

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


We all need nutrients to survive, and the creatures in our streams are no different. In this issue we’ll take a look at how life in and around the stream gets its nutrients, and the impact that too many nutrients can have on an ecosystem. We hope you enjoy and learn something new!


Nutrient Cycles in our Stream

Our streams and rivers can be very complex ecosystems. There are many different systems that all work together to keep life in and around the water thriving. A key building block of these healthy ecosystems is the flow of nutrients from one organism to another. This cycle of nutrients is what sustains all living things on our planet. Understanding how these nutrients move can help us better understand the steps we need to take to protect our natural environment. Many species get their nutrients from different sources, including animal waste, leaves, other animals, and more. KQED Quest has made an awesome video that follows the flow of nutrients in streams in a really easy to understand way!


What Happens When There are too Many Nutrients?

We often think of nutrients as a good thing, and they are; however, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. When our streams and rivers see a large influx of nutrients it can cause something called Eutrophication. When this happens plant life, particularly algae, can have an explosion of growth. All the new plant life might seem great at first, but it quickly uses up resources from the water that are needed by the other species living in the river. Atlas Pro created a video outlining some of the causes and consequences of eutrophication, we highly recommend checking it out!


Gardening can Help you Understand Nutrients!

There are many mental and physical benefits to gardening, one of which is gaining a better understanding of how plants work.

If you’ve never tried to develop your green thumb before it can be a little daunting to get started. Luckily we’ve found a few guides that can help you along your journey, and there are lots of different ways to garden! You could grow a window sill herb garden, a raised bed in your yard, or set up a hydroponic system in your basement. Whatever route you choose, remember to have fun and treat it as a learning experience.

If you have younger kids, Kids Gardening has a wonderful guide for using recyclables for your new plant adventure. They’ve also got a lot of other great resources if you feel like you need more guidance. For older kids you might think about setting up a hydroponics system. While this is more advanced, it can give a clear picture of the various elements that your plants need to thrive. Epic Gardening has a kid friendly hydroponics guide that you can make using an old soda bottle.


A Little Dose of Inspiration

Being out in the woods by a river is
Sun rays peek out through leaves of towering trees above me
Across the gently flowing water
Shimmering glistening.
Clear reflections of moss covered rocks and blue sky
Spread across the river.
Sounds of smooth and fresh flowing water
Fluttering of the birds, bugs, and bees
And movement of all the animals, bringing life to the watershed.

So many colors and patterns
Finding art within nature.
My art tells a story
Shares my perspectives
Brings awareness to what is important to me.
Capturing these images in paintings and photography can teach
Imagery is powerful.

The French Broad River
INSPIRES many people
Helps build our community, and
Flows through the River Arts District.

We need the inspiration and beauty of our rivers
The rivers need our protection.
We can share our perspectives through imagery and
INSPIRE others to protect our rivers.

-Mia W.

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 able to continue our Education, Water Quality and Land Conservation programs, but we couldn't do it without you!