In celebration of World Water Day, families, community members, and a group from Mighty Writers—El Futuro gathered together at Stroud Water Research Center on Thursday, March 24 to learn about the world’s most precious natural resource — clean fresh water — and how to protect it.
The free event, which also honored the Stroud Center Education Department’s 30-year anniversary, featured fun family activities and an unveiling of the new Watershed Education Mobile Lab, a fully outfitted 14-foot box trailer ready to travel and deliver education programs to underserved schools and communities.
Activities included a live demonstration of electrofishing, the discovery of freshwater insects that exist in healthy streams, showings of freshwater stewardship videos, and bilingual (English/Spanish) readings of Creek Critters.
One young participant said, “I liked seeing the eels the best!”
A mother, who used Creek Critters as a lesson unit in her homeschool group, said she was excited to meet Stroud Center Education Director Steve Kerlin, Ph.D., who worked with children’s book author Jennifer Keats Curtis on writing the text.
New Watershed Education Mobile Lab — Coming to a Neighborhood Near You!
To provide equitable access to meaningful watershed educational experiences, the Stroud Center unveiled its Watershed Education Mobile Lab on Thursday.
“Key to environmental justice is creating opportunities for everyone to learn about their local waterways. Knowledge is power. However, not everyone has the ability to come to us for an education program. With the new mobile lab, we can take watershed education on the road and meet learners wherever they are. It’s a watershed on wheels!” said Assistant Director of Education Tara Muenz.
In addition to reaching underserved schools and communities, the mobile lab expands public engagement at parks and festivals. It’s outfitted with a full set of instructional materials, such as microscopes and equipment for monitoring water quality to create hands-on experiences that build awareness and connections to local waterways.
Kara Rahn, senior manager of government and external affairs at Pennsylvania American Water, a sponsor of the mobile lab, said, “We understand the importance of watershed education and stewardship because thousands of people depend on us each day for clean, safe drinking water. We’re proud to have been able to support the Stroud Center’s Watershed Education Mobile Lab through funding from our annual Environmental Grant Program and thank them for allowing us to contribute to a project that is sure to have a truly meaningful impact on our communities and the local waterways that sustain our region.”
The Stroud Center is grateful to the many sponsors who helped make the mobile lab possible: Pa. American Water, E. Kneale Dockstader Foundation, Pa. Department of Environmental Protection’s Environmental Education Grants Program, National Park Trust, Burkholder Mfg. Inc., Full Throttle Wraps and Graphics, CCRES Educational and Behavioral Services, Pa. Fish and Boat Commission, Pengara Design and Production, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, and an anonymous donor.
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