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

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A typical program consists of the following components:

TEACHER CONSULTATION

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.

WATERSHED MODEL DEMONSTRATION/DISCUSSION

Grade Level: 5th-12th 

Approximate time commitment: 1-1 1/2 hours

Description: 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/METHODS DEMO

Grade Level: 5th-12th 

Approximate time commitment: 1+ hour

Description: It is imperative that students understand the scientific method and identify the monitoring question driving the field study before collecting data. 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.

INTRODUCTION TO WATERSHED AND WATER QUALITY MONITORING

Grade Level: 7th-12th

Approximate time commitment: 30 minutes-1 hour

Description: This PowerPoint presentation covers the definition of a watershed, effects of impervious surfaces on the water cycle, benefits of healthy watersheds, reasons why we monitor water quality, and an introduction to aquatic ecology and water quality parameters.

PHYSICAL/STREAM HABITAT ASSESSMENT

Grade Level: 5th-12th

Approximate time commitment: 1 hour

Description: Monitoring physical characteristics of the river can provide a context for evaluating chemical and biological parameters, and can be the simplest and most effective way of evaluating a river's health if time and resources are limited. It can also be useful to compare physical assessments from year to year to understand the dynamics of a river system. Physical parameters include stream depth and width, velocity, substrate, discharge, and transparency.

Physical Field Assessment Sheets

      All Tiers

      Tier 1 (Beginner)

      Tier 2 (Intermediate)

      Tier 3 (Advanced) 

CHEMICAL ASSESSMENT

Grade Level: 5th-12th 

Approximate time commitment: 1+ hour

Description: Chemical monitoring allows us to view water quality parameters for a snapshot in time. Collecting chemical data can be useful for identifying areas for further investigation, and can help students better understand the differences between interactions of abiotic and biotic components of an aquatic ecosystem.

Chemical Field Assessment Sheets

      Tier 1 (Beginner)

      Tier 2 (Intermediate)

      Tier 3 (Advanced)

BENTHIC MACROINVERTEBRATE ASSESSMENT

Grade Level: 5th-12th

Approximate time commitment: 1+ hour 

Description: Sample collection will be done using a net, sorting and identification of major groups (mostly orders, a few families, some classes) of benthic macroinvertebrates, and assessment of primary habitat characteristics. Approximately 0.28 square meters of the stream bottom are sampled. the relative abundance and richness of each major group is determined, the field sheet is filled out, and the organisms are returned to the stream.

Biological Field Assessment 

      All Tiers

      Tier 1 (Beginner)

      Tier 2 (Intermediate)

      Tier 3 (Advanced) 

MICROBIOLOGY

We are able to do E.Coli testing with schools on a limited basis! Feel free to ask us about it if you're interested.

OUTREACH/STEWARDSHIP PROJECT

Grade Level: 5th-12th

Approximate time commitment: Varies

Description: UVM Watershed Alliance emphasizes action based on unbiased scientific information. The Community Outreach/Stewardship component allows students to utilize their creativity while they extend their findings to and become engaged in their local community.

 

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