Stream Monitoring & Stewardship

Each spring and fall, UVM Watershed Alliance runs the Stream Monitoring and Stewardship Program (our most popular!). Our trained interns (also called Watershed Educators) from the University of Vermont visit schools across the state and lead classroom watershed lessons and stream monitoring field trips, and help develop community outreach project. Typical programs consist of one 2-hour classroom session followed by one or two 4-hour field trips where students get to participate in local stream monitoring. After monitoring, students prepare and implement a community outreach project (time commitment varies depending on scope of project).

Click here for more program details

Student Testimonials

“Actually going outside and doing the research ourselves really helped to show the way we can inadvertently impact an ecosystem.” -High School Student

“I think the biggest thing that caught my eyes today was during the BMI station. I think the reason this had such as huge impact on me because using the kick nets we caught organisms that live in the river that I might have never know even lived there” - Middle School Student

“I loved going to the stream and looking for bugs. Who knew there were so many in one stream?!” - Elementary Student

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A typical program consists of the following components:

TEACHER CONSULTATION

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

  • Outreach & Education Coordinator reviews program and watershed study; consults on study design, available resources and integration into curriculum.
  • Teacher reviews the UVM WA curriculum and additional resources.
  • Watershed Educators (interns) contact teacher to review program goals, logistics and specific needs.

WATERSHED MODEL DEMONSTRATION/DISCUSSION

Grade Level: 5 - 12

Approximate time commitment: 1-1 1/2 hours

Description: Watershed Educators use EnviroScape® interactive watershed model to introduce key watershed concepts.

STUDY DESIGN AND EQUIPMENT/METHODS DEMO

Grade Level: 5 - 12 

Approximate time commitment: 1+ hour

Description: Students are introduced to the scientific method and how to identify the monitoring questions. Watershed Educators introduce monitoring concepts and background information about chemical, physical, and biological parameters and demonstrate how to use equipment.

INTRODUCTION TO WATERSHED AND WATER QUALITY MONITORING

Grade Level: 7 - 12

Approximate time commitment: 30 minutes-1 hour

Description:  A PowerPoint presentation that covers the watershed and water quality monitoring concepts and methods. 

PHYSICAL/STREAM HABITAT ASSESSMENT

Grade Level: 5 - 12

Approximate time commitment: 1 hour

Description: Students assess the physical characteristics of the stream, including depth and width, velocity, substrate, discharge, and transparency. Can be performed at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. 

CHEMICAL ASSESSMENT

Grade Level: 5 - 12

Approximate time commitment: 1+ hour

Description: Students analyze stream water for chose parameters, such as pH, dissolve oxygen, phosphorus, and conductivity. These measurements act as a snapshot in time of the quality of the stream. Can be performed at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels.

BENTHIC MACROINVERTEBRATE ASSESSMENT

Grade Level: 5 - 12

Approximate time commitment: 1+ hour 

Description: Specimens are collected, sorted and identified by major groups of benthic macroinvertebrates. Students assess primary habitat characteristics and calculate relative abundance and richness of each major group. Can be performed at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. 

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: 5 - 12

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.