Come High Water (FBCEC)


Participants will consider the shrinking pool of resources and growing mountains of trash and devise ways to reuse it.

Grade Level:

K - 12

Recommended Setting:


Outdoor Activity:



Fred Berry Conservation Education Center, Yellville, AR


Education Program Coordinator, 870-449-3484



45 minutes - 1.5 hours

Suggested Number of Participants:

Up to 24

Special Conditions:

Weather permitting.


  • Find other uses for objects salvaged from the creek or garbage.
  • Contemplate current trash disposal and resource conservation.



Key Terms*:



*See glossary for definations


Clean trash


Pictures of landfills


Today, solid waste materials are burned, buried, recycled or dumped into landfills.


  1. Take the participants to Crooked Creek and find at least one piece of litter to bring back. Tell them to find a new use for the litter and report it to the group. If they can’t find any items, have some garbage available.
  2. Show several pictures of landfills and ask what they think will happen to all the garbage buried there. How long will it take to disintegrate? (Have data available for them.) What happens to the liquids and chemicals that leach into the ground?
  3. Discuss the ethical implications of discarding items in a world of dwindling natural resources and crowded landfills. Ask them questions such as, “Why did Aldo Leopold say that a salvaged board was twice as valuable as one bought from the lumber yard?”
  4. Ask the participants to write some thoughts on the activity in their journal.


  • Place a large pile of clean, discarded trash in the floor, and let them create toys or other useful items. (A more structured option is to plan a specific craft such as birdfeeders from plastic bottles, etc.)
  • For younger participants, read “Just A Dream” by Chris Van Allsburg out loud. Focus on the picture of the landfill and ask them how they would like having that in their back yard. Or read out loud “The Day the Trash Came Out to Play” by David M. Beadle.
  • Also for younger participants, hand out AGFC habitat sheets and stickers. Instruct them to place the animal stickers on the sheet in places that represent appropriate habitats for each animal. Participants may color the sheets. (Note: There are six habitats pictured.)


  • Describe what things might be salvaged from their own trash.
  • Explain some current conservation issues.


Beadle, David M. (2004). The Day the Trash Came Out to Play. Ezra’s Earth Publishing, South Pasadena, CA.


Landfill – a system of trash and garbage disposal in which the waste is buried between the layers of the earth


Resource – a portion of an environment that enhances the quality of human life; also, a natural source of wealth or revenue