Piscasaw Creek, USA - Natalie Johnson
My Watermark is Piscasaw Creek, Illinois.
I am the Executive Director of Save the Dunes in Northwest Indiana, right on the southernmost tip of Lake Michigan. When I grew up in Southern Illinois, Piscasaw Creek near Alton, Illinois. I was in the fifth grade and I was doing this really cool program River Watch, and they gave me all these tools such as a net, forceps – I thought I was real cool, first time being a scientist – and I got out in Piscasaw Creek and they said “shuffle your feet around and see what lives in the water here”.
That was my first experience picking up macroinvertebrates, those amazing bugs that live in the water, that are apart of the ecosystem, that support fish and wildlife. And I knew, at that very moment, in fifth grade standing in Piscasaw Creek, that I wanted to work on environmental protection, and specifically protecting the water. I don't think there’s too many fifth graders out there that knew in that moment exactly what they wanted to do.