At that point I was feeling pretty good about myself, since it just so happens that I spent most of Friday knee deep in a creek, getting middle schoolers interested in stream bugs. Here's a secret: it's actually pretty easy. Throw some waders on them, hand them a net, and make sure they don't wade into a deep pool. Then step back and let them explore.
"Who wants to hold a bug?" Just about everyone.
Many of them were amazed how easy it was to find life in the stream, especially once I pointed out that all those "sticks" were caddisfly cases. Notable catches of the day included a cranefly larvae as big around as my pinkie, a crayfish, and one very confused sucker. But the real highlight was seeing a bunch of kids get excited about a world they hadn't known was there.
Future stream ecologists?
The aftermath: well worth it!