Watershed Explorer Challenge

The Watershed Explorer Challenge booklet has 11 activities, rooted in Next Generation Science Standards, that are designed for young people to learn about watershed science and the Lake Champlain Basin. This is a free resource for youth and teachers. Participants will be asked to make a watershed model, identify the connections in an aquatic food web, determine stream health from benthic macroinvertebrate samples, and more. This is a learning experience for students and their families to engage in at their own pace. Students that complete all the activities in the booklet will be awarded the title of Watershed Explorer and receive a certificate. The challenge has been designed for middle-school-aged youth but can also be appropriate for younger and older students. The program is captured in a single booklet that folks can have mailed to them and/or pick up at community hubs (e.g., libraries, food pantry, etc.).

Once you have completed the booklet, fill out the enclosed prepaid postcard and mail it to us. We will mail you back your certificate of completion! Teachers looking to integrate the Watershed Explorer Challenge into their curriculum can apply online to receive copies of the booklet and implementation support or contact us at watershd [at] uvm.edu

View Booklet Pickup Locations


Borrow a STEAM Kit to Take the Challenge to the Next Level!


STEAM Kits are available to support the Watershed Explorers Booklets! We have partnered with the Fletcher Free Library in Burlington, VT and received a grant to create 20 backpack kits focused on watershed science and water quality monitoring. The idea is that families throughout the basin will be able to check out kits with STEAM materials from their local library to that help them take their learning to the next level!



View STEAM Kit Pickup Locations



Free Training on Watershed Explorers Challenge (view recording

Lake Champlain Sea Grant staff contextualize the Watershed Explorer Challenge, offering support and guidance to teachers interested in using this resource with their students. Participating in this training makes teachers eligible for a concurrent live session where Watershed Alliance Staff will meet virtually with your class to discuss the content and process of the booklet. CTLE hours are available for this session thanks to the North Country Teacher Resource Center. 



Virtual Booklet 


Additional Resources 

This list of resources is organized based on the activities and the order in which they appear in the booklet. We recommend you get started with the Watershed Explorer Challenge before diving into these additional resources.

How to be Outside Responsibly 

The 7 Principles

Lake Champlain Basin Boundary 

Lake Champlain Basin Atlas 

Native Lands Map

Activity 1

Watersheds & Tributaries

Activity 3

Water Cycle Video

Activity 4 

State of the Lake 2018 

Cyanobacteria Blooms

Threats to Lake Health - Lake Champlain Committee 

Activity 5

How to Use a Secchi Disk

Activity 6 

Watershed Alliance - Benthic Basics Video

Homemade Sampling Supplies

How to Make Your Own Kicknet

Common Benthic Macroinvertebrates

Activity 7

Understanding Dissolved Oxygen

Activity 8 

Hidden Heritage - Curt Stager

Native Lands Map

Activity 9

How to Read a Food Web

Activity 10 

Climate Change - Lake Champlain Basin Program

Activity 11

Take the Lake Protection Pledge - LCC 

Best Management Practices to Protect Water

Take the Lake Protection Pledge - Lake Champlain Committee