By Tara Muenz
Imagine a week immersed in your local watershed where you get to explore and understand all the moving pieces. The Brandywine Watershed Discovery Day Camp, coordinated by the Coatesville Youth Initiative (CYI), brought stream ecology to life for 20 middle school campers with the help of Stroud™ Water Research Center’s education department.
The mission of the camp is to engage youth in outdoor exploration, science and educational activities, and outdoor discovery that promotes a healthy connection with the natural world and develops the skills needed to preserve our local environment. The goal of the camp is to balance structure, free play, and discovery of the natural environment while building social, life, and leadership skills.
With a very large team from CYI and the Stroud Center, each of the five days was indeed a discovery that many campers will remember for a lifetime. From exploring streams for aquatic insects, to performing a quick health checkup with water chemistry equipment, the campers were introduced to a new layer of their watershed each day. Tours of the local wastewater treatment facility and of the Stroud Preserve’s restoration efforts were also included. These brought a new perspective and appreciation for the watershed’s service to the community.
Highlights of the week included time with Chief Quiet Thunder, who spoke of the reverence and partnership the Lenni Lenape people have with the earth, a beautiful day paddling canoes on Chambers Lake, and a graduation ceremony filled with memories from the week. We were fortunate to be a part of this incredible week and to work with the CYI team again!