ArtStream  Willow Springs Middle School Food Web Café

Food Web Cafe

June 30, 2006. It is the last day of our summer school! We have invited all the classes in both the elementary and middle school buildings to come to our presentation. Time to show all we have done and learned. One of the students made a great sign for the front of the stage and the mural was the backdrop. We had managed only two rehearsals ( only that morning!) and the script had lots of room for ad libs by the students. The students had lots of great ideas - many quite amusing - and we ended up with a play called The Food Web Café.

Excerpt from the play: Introduction

A portion of the Eleven Point River is one of the original eight rivers chosen to be part of the national Wild and Scenic Riverways System. And it all starts here in our own school playground. When it rains, the water that runs down the hill of our playground flows into a drainage area, which flows into a bigger creek bed, which flows into a still larger creek bed. Other creeks in and around our little town all flow together until it finally becomes a river. We call it the Eleven Point River.

Now we would like to share with you what we have learned these past four weeks. The setting is the Eleven Point River, but the exact place is unknown. The creatures in the play represent the life along the stream corridor and in the stream channel. It is about what each one eats to survive and in turn, what eats them. It is about the importance of clean, unpolluted water. It is about the circle of life known as the food web. If you listen carefully, you will learn and then know how to be a better caretaker of our beautiful Ozarks rivers.

The premise of the story includes animals waking up in the morning quite hungry and deciding to go to the "cafe" for a little something to eat. The menu includes tasty items such as Caddisfly Casserole, Landfill Latte, and Snails on a bed of algae. The customers include algae, bear, crayfish, bullfrog, rainbow trout, caddisfly, turtle, fox, snake, and largemouth bass. During the play there are a series of unfortunate events when some of the customers eat other customers.

Excerpt from the play:

Host: Welcome to the Food Web Cafe! Could I have your name please?

Customer: Hi, my name is Crayfish, but most people around here call me Crawdad.

Host: Do you have seating preference?

Customer: Anywhere besides near that bear! Do you have a shallow riffle with a rock I can hide under while I wait for my meal?

A tragedy occurred when the Caddisfly (played by Mrs. Draper, who filled in when we needed just one more actor) died a rather sudden and violent death after drinking the Landfill Latte! We solicited the help of some of the younger members of the audience to play the roles of Decomposers, who come on stage and finish up the "remains".

The entire cast and staff. Far left, in green shirt, Sharon Lewis, Willow Springs ArtStream teacher.
Standing in back, in light blue shirt, Pat Hight, ArtStream artist/naturalist.
Far right, Lois Reborne, Bryant Watershed Edcuation Project director
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Photos and text by Sharon Lewis, Willow Springs ArtStream lead teacher.

The development of content for ArtStream has been funded through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region VII, through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, has provided partial funding for this project under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act.

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