“Land sakes!” Helga exclaimed. “That’s the best present ever! I promise to keep it a surprise.” But, you guessed it, Helga can’t keep a secret. So when Stanley Steer shared a drink with her that night at The Barn, Helga spilled the beans. “This is perfect!” Stanley remarked. “During this dark, cold season it’s easy to feel glum, especially with the daily papers loaded with seemingly insurmountable problems. This gift will really lift folks’ spirits. But shhhh… here’s comes Cates.”
Closing the barn door, Farmer Cates slipped into the moonlight admiring how it sparkled on Lowery Creek. The water’s soothing gurgles soon lulled Helga, Stanley and all the ruminating cattle in Iowa County’s Jones Valley into a peaceful slumber.
The next morning, Brooke was excited to see DNR Dan pull in to chat with Farmer Cates and his neighbors. “Good! Just who I hoped would stop in. Now I can be sure I’ve got the details right,” thought Brooke as she darted behind Dan’s waders. She was now well-situated to eavesdrop on the conversation.
“Yup, that’s right,” Dan said. “Jones Valley farmers have done an outstanding job of managing streamside pastures. As you know, we’ve been monitoring Lowery Creek for more than 50 years. Various sections of it have been rated as either a Class 2 or Class 3 trout stream meaning it supports fish, but conditions aren’t ideal. In fact, we used to stock this creek in order to maintain a trout population. But with your help, stream health has gradually improved. So much so that next year we’ll re-classify Lowery Creek as a Class 1 trout steam. Now, instead of being stocked, we’ll use Lowery Creek to collect brook trout eggs for distribution elsewhere. Well done!”
Brooke was proud to share this environmental success story as a gift to the whole world. “These farmers are both growing food and improving the environment at the same time. It’s a great model for a healthy future because this is the only home we fish and the humans will ever know. It’s where we’re all forever… Earthbound.”