Stream Monitoring & Stewardship

Each spring and fall, UVM WA runs the Stream Monitoring and Stewardship Program, our most popular program. Trained interns a.k.a watershed educators from the University of Vermont visit schools throughout the state and lead classroom watershed lessons and stream monitoring field trips, and assist with the development of a community outreach project. Typical programs consist of 1 two hour classroom session followed by 1 or 2 four hour field trips (stream monitoring) to a local stream. The program culminates with students preparing and implementing a community outreach project (time commitment varies depending on scope of project).

See here for more program details


A typical program consists of the following components:


Approximate time commitment: 1 hr phone/in-person meeting to plan the program. Teacher fills out and returns program application.

  • Outreach and Education Coordinator reviews program and watershed study; consults on study design, available resources and integration into curriculum.
  • Teacher reviews additional resources such as Testing the Waters, Living Waters, Healthy Water Healthy People (HWHP), and UVM WA curriculum.
  • Watershed Educators (interns) contact teacher to review program goals, logistics and specific needs.


Approximate time commitment: 1 hr model presentation, 1 hr study design and equipment introduction.

  • Watershed Model: Two Watershed Educators and/or the Outreach and Education Coordinator give watershed model presentation. Created by Enviroscapes, the interactive watershed model enables students to visualize a watershed. The model is a useful tool in introducing key watershed concepts such as the definition of watershed, types and sources of pollution, effects of pollution on humans and ecosystems, difference between non-point and point source pollution, and introduction to best management practices.


  • Study Design and Equipment Demo: Interns introduce monitoring concepts and background information about chemical, physical, and biological parameters. Interns guide participants in formulating a monitoring question and design a river study to address that question. Interns introduce equipment, and participants practice with each piece/method.


Approximate time needed: 2-4+ hrs field study, 2+ hrs data compilation, analysis and interpretation.

  • Watershed Educators and classroom teacher(s) lead students on a stream study field trip. Typically, students visit 1-3 sites and spend at least two hours at each site collecting samples and recording data. Students collect physical (temperature, geomorphology, river bottom characteristics), chemical (dissolved oxygen, phosphorus, pH, conductivity) and biological (benthic macroinvertebrates) data. Click here for a list of the equipment available for use.


  • Classroom teacher assists students in data analysis and interpretation. Classes input field data (physical, chemical, and biological parameters) to Interactive Map & Database on UVM WA website.


Approximate time commitment: variable, students prepare a community outreach project.

  • Past projects include presentations to local watershed organizations, production of a radio spot, presentations to peers and/or parents, participation in a congress with other student monitors, and a student led teaching/learning day with younger students.