Education

Grants and Partnerships

Model My Watershed:
Developing a Cyberlearning Application and Curricula to Enhance Interest in STEM Careers

Model My Watershed is a three-year project to develop, test and disseminate a watershed-modeling tool set for secondary students funded by the National Science Foundation.

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Model My Watershed is designed to build on GoogleEarth and provide a dynamic interface where students can import as well as add data, modify both environmental conditions and underlying algorithms, work in a collaborative online learning environment, and be exposed to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) careers. The design is based on the belief that students should have an authentic, exciting, intuitive and interactive tool set that allows them to investigate their own neighborhoods. The investigations challenge students to make real world decisions based on scientific knowledge and models.

The project uses the complexity of environmental science to engage and excite students about the diverse STEM careers that are necessary to study and address environmental issues. Using existing scientific data in an authentic, hydrologic modeling toolset, students learn to predict how environmental changes to the ecosystem affect the hydrologic cycle in their local watersheds. In addition to being able to modify the underlying environmental conditions and model algorithms, the students can modify their watershed by drawing new surfaces or structures on the landscape using tools such as Google SketchUp. A collaborative web-based communication platform is used to network teams of students and schools to pose questions or challenges and communicate their findings. The project will directly impact 25 teachers and 1000 students in the Philadelphia area with plans for national dissemination.

Visit the WikiWatershed website

Consortium for Scientific Assistance to Watersheds (C-SAW)

A team of specialists who provide eligible watershed groups with program management and scientific technical assistance.

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Funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Stroud Water Research Center has been an active partner of this consortium since 2004. Visit the C-SAW website

Leaf Pack Network®

A network of teachers and students investigating their local stream ecosystems.

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The Leaf Pack Experiment involves creating an artificial leaf pack (dry leaves in a mesh bag), placing it in the stream for three to four weeks, examining the packs in the classroom and discovering the different types of insects that colonized the leaves. These insects are indicators of stream health. After conducting their own leaf pack experiment, these schools share their data through the Leaf Pack Network®. Through the Leaf Pack Experiment, students conduct their own experiments, investigate food webs, learn classification skills and use technology to share their data with a network of schools across the region. The Leaf Pack Experiment kit was developed by the Stroud Water Research Center and the LaMotte Company. Visit the Leaf Pack Network website.

Andes Amazon Initiative

A project funded by the Moore Foundation that offered workshops to individuals in Peru and Costa Rica, both those now in positions to make decisions about water resources and those whose students will become the stewards of the future.

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With a grant provided by the Moore Foundation, we spent three weeks in August 2006 working in the headwaters of the Amazon in southeastern Peru. In October 2006 we returned to give a series of full-day workshops to: (a) local public- and private-sector decision makers; (b) teachers; (c) conservation planners, non-governmental organization staff members, and university faculty; and (d) eco-tourism guides. In December 2006 we traveled to the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica to give a similar series of workshops.

Read more about the Center’s workshops in Peru.

Chesapeake Bay Watershed Workshops

A grant from The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to work with teachers in Bradford County and Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

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In 2006 NOAA awarded us a two-year grant to work with teachers in Bradford County and Lancaster County. Teachers were trained in monitoring techniques that provided a meaningful watershed experience for their students with an understanding of their connection to Chesapeake Bay.

Educational Product Design

The Center’s education department has developed three watershed education products that are marketed and available nationally.

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Products available through the LaMotte Company:

The Leaf Pack Experiment Kit

Watershed Tour

Macroinvertebrate Life Cycle and Habitat Flashcards.

From Scientific Research → Public Policy

A grant from the William Penn Foundation created a partnership to provide public officials and their constituents with the tools to protect their streams and rivers.

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Under a two-year grant from the William Penn Foundation, we have brought together a diverse partnership (Natural Lands Trust, PennFuture, Institute for Conservation Leadership, Green Valleys Association, Berks County Conservancy and The Keystone Center) to provide public officials and their constituents with the scientific research, educational tools, tactical and strategic advice, and legal counsel they need to create, implement and, if necessary, defend model strategies and ordinances to protect their streams and rivers.

Leaf Pack as a Monitoring Tool

A project to help community volunteers assess the water quality of the White Clay Creek watershed.

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In tandem with leaf packs placed at eight White Clay Creek Streamwatch sampling sites, Stroud Water Research Center scientists collected samples at each site, using the traditional methods of stream bottom (benthic) sampling (a Hess or Surber sampler). By comparing the macroinvertebrate data from each method, this experiment provides an indication of whether the two techniques are comparable in determining water quality.

Learn more about the Stream Watch Project.

Media Borough Stormwater Brochure

A publication to educate the public "about the importance of trees in preventing stormwater runoff, improving the quality of our drinking water and preserving the environment".

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Stroud Water Research Center worked with Media Borough to produce “Stormwater, Trees and Our Drinking Water”. View the brochure.

Mountaintop → Tap

A 3-week trek across the New York City water supply system. A partnership of New York City Department of Environmental Protection, Catskill Center, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Stroud Water Research Center, Riverkeeper, and New York Harbor School.

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In the summer of 2007, six students from New York Harbor School in Brooklyn and six students from Sidney High School, in Delaware County, took a 3-week summer trek tracing New York City’s drinking water supply. They became spokespeople for the water-supply system and brought public attention to the 10th Anniversary of the Memorandum of Agreement, which brought together, for the first time in a long and bitter history, all the stakeholders in the system. Throughout the 3-week trek, the students assessed the quality of the water in streams, rivers and reservoirs; documented their findings with photographs and journal entries; talked to public officials, scientists, conservationists, and park rangers; and hosted press conferences to share with the public, from the trenches, what they learned. As a follow-up to the trek, the students had an exhibit of their photographs and journal entries at the following locations: Queens Museum of Art, Catskill Center for Conservation and Development, Brooklyn Public Library, Sidney Public Library, Stroud Water Research Center. Trekkers were trained by Bob Caputo, a photographer with over 30 years of experience with National Geographic, on how to take pictures that tell a story. You can retrace the trek online and read the students’ daily journal entries.

New York Project

A partnership between Stroud Water Research Center, Hudson Basin River Watch and Riverkeeper to provide workshops to teachers within the New York City drinking water watershed.

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Stroud Water Research Center has partnered with Hudson Basin River Watch and Riverkeeper since 2000 to provide Leaf Pack (LP) workshops to teachers within the New York City drinking water watershed. East of the Hudson River we provide workshops at Teatown Lake Reservation and West of the Hudson River they are provided through the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development. Both organizations have a LP Coordinator. This partnership is called “Streamkeepers” and is funded through NY State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Brandywine Trek

The Brandywine Trek takes high school students from the headwaters of the Brandywine River in Honey Brook, Pennsylvania, to its mouth in Wilmington, Delaware.

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They hike and canoe the length of the river, camp under the stars, and live simply on the land. Along the way they meet with scientists, conservationists, historians, park rangers, and farmers — both to learn more about the river and to report on what they found. Their goal: to become spokespeople for the Brandywine and to bring public attention to the importance of protecting its water and the land that feeds it. Learn more about the Brandywine Trek »

The Rain Barrel Project

A program for public and private school students in Media Borough to learn about the problems of stormwater runoff and how that rainwater affects their school, neighborhood and local streams.

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Students created designs that were transferred to 133 gallon rain barrels that were based on their understanding of the need to direct rain into the ground. The project included a public slide presentation on rain barrels and a rain barrel unveiling and student presentations at Media’s Earth Day Festival. These decorated barrels were installed at their school sites and in public areas of Media Borough in the spring of 2009.

Learn more about rain barrels

Schuylkill Sojourn – “Reading the River: Science of the Schuylkill”

Stroud Water Research Center educators educated participants in the 11th annual Schuylkill Sojourn.

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Hundreds of people embark on a seven-day, 112-mile canoe trip down the Schuylkill River — from Schuylkill Haven to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — every June. The 11th annual Schuylkill Sojourn, which took place in June of 2009, organized by the Schuylkill River Greenway Association, was intended to deepen the appreciation for the Schuylkill River, a river steeped in history, by those who rely on it for everything from recreation to their drinking water. During the 2009 Sojourn, Stroud Water Research Center educators organized the educational programs, which included presentations by our scientists. We continued to monitor the Schuylkill as we canoed downstream.

Read about the 2008 sojourn

Stormwater Project: From Classroom to Creek

A program to educate middle school students about water issues in Chester, Ridley and Crum Creek watersheds.

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Stroud Water Research Center facilitated classroom programs and a storm drain stenciling project for middle school students on issues related to storm water runoff and source water for drinking and recreation in each of the three watersheds of the Chester, Ridley and Crum Creeks. A Stormwater Activity Guide was compiled and distributed.

Summer Institute: How Best Management Practices Are Protecting Your Drinking Water

Funded by: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the Environmental Grants Program

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Twenty educators participated in a week-long summer program of field experiences and hands-on activities in 2009. Teachers learned effective and innovative methods to protect water quality through the application of best management practices for agriculture, stormwater and integrated pest management. All activities are aligned with the PA Environment and Ecology Academic Standards.

Tree Planting

A partnership with multiple organizations to plant re-establish streamside forests in southeastern Pennsylvania.

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We have worked with ERTHNXT (formerly the Future of Life Foundation), the Chesapeake Bay Council of the Girl Scouts of America, and the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary with funding from TreeVitalize, to organize tree-planting programs throughout southeastern Pennsylvania.

Watershed Welcome Packet

Welcome to Our Neighborhood, White Clay Creek Watershed

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Packets were developed in partnership with the Education Subcommittee of the White Clay Watershed Association. An electronic version of the packet can be found on the White Clay Creek Watershed Wild & Scenic website at: http://www.whiteclay.org/sites/whiteclay.org/files/meetings/WelcomeContent080106.pdf

Upland Country Day School Curriculum Development

Funded by: The Applestone Foundation

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Center educators worked with Upland Country Day School in 2009 to develop quantitative watershed activities and curricula for their 5th grade science curriculum. Their 7th grade class also came to the Center for a leaf pack education program and we also helped judge their all-school science fair.

Water Quality and Stream Health in Eastern Pennsylvania

Funded by: NASA

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Center educators, along with the Central Bucks School District, the Heritage Conservancy and the Peace Valley Nature Centers, provided programming in 2008 and 2009 to show the impact of almost four decades of suburban expansion, rural development, dam construction and environmental regulations in the region’s freshwater sources.

Watershed Citizenship Learning Community

A collaboration with Cabrini College to encourage environmental stewardship in their students.

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In collaboration with Cabrini College, we are developing courses that use the watershed as the means to instill an interest in the science associated with the preservation and conservation of freshwater resources and encourage environmental stewardship in non-major/pre-major undergraduate students. In so doing, we will empower these students with the tools, knowledge and motivation to become lifelong citizen scientists. To accomplish this, we will develop tandem courses (Watershed Ecology and Watershed Citizenship) that integrate service learning in the local watershed.

The Science of Water through the World of Art

Funded by: Point Lookout Farmlife Foundation and Water Preserve Foundation. This program at Point Lookout Preserve exposes students and teachers to new ways of thinking about landscapes and stream ecosystems through the creative process of art and science.

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Programs combine watershed science, artistic expression, canoeing, and introductions to the art of the Brandywine Valley with a special focus on the art, country farm and forest of the Wyeth family. The Science of Water Through the World of Art has expanded in scope to include programs that have been offered across the United States. View photo gallery.

Integrating the Carbon and Water Cycles within an Ecosystem Esthetic Approach to Landscapes

Funded by: National Science Foundation

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This project is based on research conducted by scientists at the Center that shows the connections among landscape practices, stormwater runoff and mobilization and mineralization of carbon. The project will build upon sound landscape practices used at Longwood Gardens to teach visitors that replacing lawns and paved surfaces with land cover that allows for rainwater infiltration not only reduces the harmful effects of increased stormwater runoff and the movement of carbon, it can also be beautiful.

Visit the Livable Landscapes website