FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 3, 2008
Stroud Water Research Center to Host Scientists, Educators and Policy Makers from Central & South America for a Week-Long Spanish-Language Pilot of its Popular Leaf Pack Education Kit on October 19th-25th, 2008
Avondale, Pa. – Educators and scientists at the Stroud™ Water Research Center will host a group of 18 workshop participants from Central and South America who will test drive the Center’s Spanish-language version of its popular freshwater education product, the Leaf Pack Experiment Stream Ecology Kit, on October 19th, 2008 at its Avondale campus.
The Kit’s English version, currently marketed by the LaMotte Company of Chestertown, MD, was developed at the Stroud Water Research Center in the early 1990s and is based on scientific procedures used for years by Stroud scientists. The Kit is a tool set designed to teach people about their local streams and how to monitor the quality of their fresh water. It involves creating an artificial leaf pack (dry leaves in a mesh bag) and placing it in the stream for three to four weeks, then examining the pack to determine the number and type of aquatic insects that indicate the level of stream health and water quality. Students, teachers, and community volunteers use the Kit and the web-based Leaf Pack Network® to share information about their watersheds.
“Given the Stroud Water Research Center’s freshwater research and education programs in Latin America, creating a Spanish-language version was an obvious next step for us,” said Jamie Blaine, research associate at the Stroud Water Research Center and a key driver behind the project. “But the real excitement here is in its potential to reach out to 500 million Spanish speakers around the world and to promote a freshwater stewardship movement across many borders.”
“Knowing how to test our local waters and understanding how the yielded results affect our local habitats is primary to understanding how to protect and preserve our watersheds. This is an excellent opportunity for families and neighbors to engage in hands on, data collection and assessment of their own waterways and ultimately affect their health in a positive way,” said Laura MacKelcan, Avon Grove Charter School’s Coordinator of Trout in the Classroom.
Workshop participants include representatives from educational institutions, conservation organizations and government agencies. Among the attendees will be representatives from EARTH University, Pitzer College’s Firestone Center for Restoration Ecology, Costa Rica’s National Power and Light Company and its Water and Sewage Department, the Área de Conservación Guanacaste in Costa Rica, University of Georgia-Costa Rica, and Friends of Osa, as well as Universidad Rafael Landivar in Guatemala, the Amazon Center of Environmental Education and Research and the Association for the Conservation of the Amazon River Basin in Peru. In addition a teacher from Fort Worth, Texas will attend, as will Rafa Morales of the Asociación Centro de Investigación Stroud, the umbrella organization for the Stroud Water Research Center’s research and education activities in Central and South America. The participants have committed to becoming “Leaf Pack ambassadors” by sponsoring workshops in their communities within six months of their return.
Media are welcome to attend and photograph the Workshop at the Stroud Water Research Center’s Avondale campus on October 21st, 2008 at 10:30 am. A brief session will be set aside to ask questions of the participants.