The Leaf Pack Network is an initiative of Stroud™ Water Research Center. The Stroud Center seeks to advance knowledge and stewardship of freshwater systems through global research, education, and watershed restoration.


Leaf Pack Network Helps Urban Kids Explore Salty Waters in Death Valley

If you visit Salt Creek, Death Valley on any given afternoon in the spring, you’d be walking along the boardwalk in shorts and a t-shirt, the weather a balmy 72 degrees Fahrenheit. You would also have to navigate through 60 school kids, all staring into the frothing waters.

The kids have come to make leaf packs, designed by Stroud™ Water Research Center as a tool to assess stream health, but have stopped to watch the pupfish breed in the shallow rivulets of Salt Creek.

The males put on a fabulous dance in blue and yellow; their mating colors attract females and show just how virile they are. Thousands of visitors watch them spar for mates each year, and what a rare tournament it is! Pupfish swim only in early spring, through streamlets that are warm, salty, and — most of the year — dry as a bone.

Read more in Upstream Newsletter, Spring 2011.