Brandywine Trek Helps Students Spur Freshwater Stewardship

600 450 Stroud Water Research Center


CONTACT: Diane Huskinson, Stroud™ Water Research Center

WHAT: Brandywine Trek Helps Students Spur Freshwater Stewardship


  • Tuesday, June 14, 2011, 8:30 a.m. – Walmart parking lot at intersection of Route 30 and Route 10 to proceed to Brandywine headwaters
  • Saturday, June 18, 2011 8–9:30 a.m. – Brandywine Creek State Park; 5:30 p.m. – Brandywine Health Foundation grounds, 50 S. First Ave., Coatesville, PA 19320

Avondale, PA – President Obama has proclaimed June Great Outdoors Month, and Coatesville-area students are leading the charge. On Tuesday, June 14, a group of high school students from Coatesville will join Stroud™ Water Research Center on the Brandywine Trek, a weeklong educational adventure down the Brandywine River.

Beginning at the river’s headwaters in Honey Brook and concluding at its mouth in Wilmington, the Brandywine Trek was designed by Stroud Water Research Center 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 to implement good stewardship practices to preserve and restore the river.

The program was modeled on Mountaintop to Tap, a similar trek the Stroud Center created in 2007, which traced New York City’s drinking water from its origins in the Catskill Mountains to the reservoir in Central Park. Emmy and Peabody Award–winning filmmaker Kent Garrett documented the trek in a short film.

Like so many Americans, these Coatesville students have never camped under the stars, fished for food, or heard the great outdoors awaken to a new day. The trek will give them the opportunity to do just that and more. As they canoe, hike, and learn about best management practices and how to monitor water quality, they will see how important our natural resources — especially our rivers and streams — are to the communities that depend on them.

On the jam-packed journey, the students will first visit the Brandywine River’s headwaters in Honey Brook, which got its name from its clear and great-tasting water. They will tour a wastewater treatment plant, learn about the historical significance of Coatesville and Lukens Steel, receive a lesson on conservation and see it in action, and work together to collect scientific water-quality data and land-use information. The interdisciplinary program will combine science, history, art, math, communications, and collaborative learning — all centered around fresh water — and all of which the students will document in photographs and journal entries.

“Our goal,” says Christina Medved, the Stroud Center’s education programs manager and one of the trek’s organizers, “is to empower these students with knowledge and understanding of how all these communities are connected by this one waterway. They are the bright young stars who will lead entire communities into caring for the river that sustains them.”

The students will do that by sharing with their own community, the city of Coatesville, what they’ve learned on the trek. They will record their journal entries and photographs on the trek website and in a public exhibition this fall. After the trek, the students will work with local groups on stream restoration, stream adoption, and cleanup projects in and around Coatesville.

“The Brandywine Trek is just the start of a journey we hope will continue long after these students return home,” says Medved.

Brandywine Trek partners and organizers in addition to the Stroud Water Research Center include the Brandywine Conservancy, Coatesville Youth Initiative, Chester County Parks and Recreation, Chester County Water Resources Authority, Chester County Conservation District, and the city of Wilmington.

Brandywine Trek sponsors include Wilderness Canoe Trips, Brandywine Health Foundation, Outward Bound Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, Brandywine Conservancy, Turning Roots Farm, Aqua Pennsylvania, the city of Wilmington, Campmor, Brandywine Picnic Park, Chester County Conservation District, The Graystone Society, Stewart Huston Charitable Trust, Franny and Franny Abbott, Marshall Reynolds Foundation, National Geographic photographer Bob Caputo, and Point Lookout Farmlife and Water Preserve.