Squirming with excitement, 15 kindergartners and 1st graders kneel around a quilt that depicts a river riparian scene replete with woody debris, rocks, a salmon redd, a small waterfall, and riffles. In a few minutes, each kid will get a stuffed ‘creature’ that lives in this special habitat–everything from a giant Pacific salamander to snakes to a lamprey to different aquatic insects. The kids’ challenge?!–Identify their special ‘creature,’ learn if it’s terrestrial or aquatic, and then place their creature in the appropriate habitat atop the quilt….. The river / riparian zone quilt is one of several’teaching quilts’ now available for ecological education around Humboldt County. The others include Tidepool, Redwood Canopy, Soil and the latest addition–The Water Cycle. In classroom after classroom, these amazing quilts teach younger students ecological concepts in a fun, hands-on way. It’s always great to bring students into the field, but when the weather doesn’t cooperate or there’s a field trip coming up, these tactile, three-dimensional quilts are a terrific introductory teaching tool! These quilts are created by volunteers of the Lost Coast Interpretive Association (LCIA). Working on the quilts is always fun and exciting because all the creative stages — design, fabric choice, cutting an placing — are done as a group and the creative sparks fly. Participants are Eve Broughton, Gail Clark, Lynda Gross, Susan Lawsky, Cheryl Lisin, Patty McGuire, Mary Shamel, Nancy Thompson, Janis Tillery, Linda Wolfard and Janet Young. Our next quilt will be titled Metamorphoses.