HRWC offers teachers a free streamside program that engages students in learning about water quality and protecting the watershed. Through hands-on and small group activities, students use the skills they learn in the classroom to evaluate the health of their local creek, stream or river.
The program strives to spark a life-long interest in science and a foundation for a career in a STEM discipline by exposing students to how scientists think and by giving students direct career-related experiences.
How it works
The program is offered twice a year in the Fall (September/October) and Spring (April/May) for 4th-12th grade students during the school day. Teachers work with HRWC staff to schedule a date, time, location (stream or waterway close to the school) and number of classes. HRWC Coordinators work with teachers to determine best lessons to meet grade-specific goals.
On the program day, HRWC staff and a group of trained volunteer educators set up experiment stations before the students’ arrival. Students are separated into small groups and assigned to stations staffed by a volunteer. HRWC supplies worksheets for students to fill out at each station. Volunteers work with each group in timed increments. Teachers are free to interact with each group or assist as they see fit.
For longer sessions, a lunch break is scheduled. Transportation to and from the site and lunch are not provided. Parent volunteers are recommended.
The experiments and worksheets used in the program were created by seasoned educators to utilize skills taught in biology, chemistry, environmental science, math and physics classes. For many students, this will be their first exposure to field work. The program gives them the opportunity to experience how scientists think and work. Volunteers also encourage students to think beyond their local stream and contemplate how human interactions affect the watershed. Students then discuss possible interventions and ways to get involved.