Campus waterway should be appreciated more by students

Many campuses have wonderful features such as streams, gardens and art incorporating the environment, and I absolutely love it. TCU has miraculous things to offer as well, they are just a bit tucked away. For example, we have the lovely foyer of the J.M. Moudy building filled with fabulous sculptures, Frog Henge in front of the dance building and we must not forget the Worth Hills pond and stream. This watershed happens to be of particular interest to me, because I was born with a deeply-rooted infatuation with lakes, streams and oceans; I love them all. Due to my interest in the restoration of urban streams, the Worth Hills stream and I were a match made beyond heaven.

Now many of you may not even know we have a stream that runs far beyond the pond and flows behind Pond Street Grill and the Physical Plant all the way to Bellaire Drive North. It then flows from the lush TCU grounds into a concrete channel way, making its way through Colonial Golf Course and into the Trinity River. Yes folks, we are stewards of a fork of the Trinity!

I strongly encourage you to go down and check out the stream because it has so much to offer ecologically and socially. On any day, at any time, you can see the masses of little fish swimming around: the resident egret, black crawfish, numerous dragonflies and damselflies, about ten monarchs of specific interest during their current migration. And even a red fox if you are lucky.

All these creatures are easily seen, but let us not forget the aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates that call this stream their home too. Geologically, there is a wonderful outcrop of fossils imprinted in the limestone near the location of the damn connecting the pond and the stream. The wild flowers, plants and trees overwhelm the banks and there are many comfortable natural spots to sit. Beneath an outcrop of elm trees is a great clearing where students can take advantage of this great weather, bring out a blanket and have a picnic or study.

The Worth Hills stream should not be overlooked due to the condition of the Worth Hills pond, which gets frequented with large amounts of trash. Recently, environmental science classes have been visiting the stream to practice water quality assessment techniques and determine the condition of this urban wetland. Personally, I have also been compiling data to write an urban stream restoration plan to highlight our campus’ wonderful and under appreciated waterway.

Based on my experiences with the stream, I want to share my passion for this hidden gem and allow others to have a connection with our campus on a personal and natural level. Where else can you go to hear the tranquil flowing of water? Where can you meet a friend to have a picnic beneath a grove of elm trees? Where can you go to clear your head from stressful studying?

If we don’t show our support of this stream as a student body, it is going to continue to be overlooked, plans of paving the stream over will proceed and we will lose the single most exquisite area on campus. I strongly encourage you to check out my favorite place on campus, a stream that has enchanted me and has honestly become such an integral part of my life among the last 10 months.

Gretchen Wilbrandt is a junior environmental science major from Woodstock, Ill.