Coatesville Students Prepare for Brandywine Trek

600 450 Stroud Water Research Center


CONTACT: Diane Huskinson, Stroud™ Water Research Center

WHAT: Coatesville students prepare for Brandywine Trek

Saturday, May 14, 2011
10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at children’s fishing pond
1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Chambers Lake for canoeing skills and safety

Hibernia County Park
Wagontown, PA 19376
Located 4 miles north of Coatesville off Route 82

West Chester, PA – On Saturday, May 14, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) will give 12 students from Coatesville-area high schools a crash course in fishing and canoeing at Hibernia County Park. These students aren’t earning Boy or Girl Scouts patches or participating in a junior version of Survivor. They are learning skills they will need this summer when they will embark on a weeklong journey, by foot and canoe, down the Brandywine River.

Stroud™ Water Research Center designed the Brandywine Trek to educate students about the importance of the Brandywine River watershed to residents of the entire Brandywine Valley, and through them, to foster public understanding — from Coatesville to Wilmington and all the communities in between — of the need for its preservation through stewardship practices.

With one of the Commonwealth’s highest rates of child poverty, Coatesville stands apart from its affluent neighboring suburbs. For many of the students, this will be the first time they set foot in a canoe or cast a line to catch their next meal. The Brandywine Trek will demonstrate how all residents — urban and suburban, poor and affluent — are connected by a single river.

Beginning at the Brandywine’s headwaters in northern Chester County on June 14, the students will travel during the course of that week down to the river’s mouth at Wilmington. From there, they will set sail on the Christina River to conclude their backpacking adventure on June 18. Throughout the trek, students will work together to collect scientific water quality data and land-use information. They will also record their experiences through journal entries and photographs, which will be shared on the trek website and in a public exhibit. However, the journey’s end is just the beginning: Afterward, students will work with local groups on stream restoration, stream adoption, and cleanup projects in and around Coatesville.

Though new to the region, this program isn’t the first of its kind. It’s modeled after a similar trek Stroud Water Research Center initiated in New York, tracing New York City’s drinking water supply, called Mountaintop to Tap. That trek was documented in a short film by News & Documentary Emmy Award–winning filmmaker Kent Garrett.

Brandywine Trek partners include the Brandywine Conservancy, Chester County Parks, Chester County Water Resources Authority, Chester County Conservation District, Brandywine Health Foundation, and the city of Wilmington.