Stream-To-River, A Clean Water Stewardship Project

Learn and Serve Collaborators:  Robert C. Parker School and Averill Park High School

The Stream-to-River Project provides capacity for achieving water and climate awareness, environmental literacy, and stewardship in students at Robert C. Parker School in grades 2,3, 6, and 7 with the partnership of high school mentors from Averill Park High School.

In the project-based science curriculum at Robert C. Parker School, students learn through cooperation and discovery.  In the Stream-to-River Project, they collect and interpret water quality and weather data over time to examine the effects of weather and human activity in the Hudson River watershed.  The streams on Parker’s 77-acre property, Crooked Lake in Averill Park, and a specific site on the Hudson River provide riparian and climate laboratories.  Data collection includes the variety and number of fish and insects, tide information (on the Hudson), the types of aquatic plants present, water temperature and salinity, and dissolved oxygen levels.

Visits to the Hudson River, Crooked Lake, and the school’s stream occur in fall and spring.  These seasonal visits work well to compare the life and chemistry in three different bodies of water.  The fall visit to the Hudson coincides with the Hudson River Snapshot Day, linking school classes with environmental educators along the Hudson to create a day-in-the-life picture of the river from Troy Dam to New York Harbor.  Students gather data that is shared with the Lamont Dougherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University.  The spring visit to the Hudson River includes a riverbank clean-up.

Throughout the Stream-to-River Project students build critical thinking and problem-solving skills by gathering and analyzing their own data to determine ways to reduce pollutants and to improve waterway health.  Students share their ongoing findings and develop and present stewardship plans in a variety of public forums.  Educating the community about the effects of pollution on the life forms in the water, where the pollution comes from, and what we can do to prevent it are the focus of the presentations. This allows students to demonstrate their knowledge and makes efforts meaningful as students help in tangible ways through cleaning up, encouraging others to help, and presenting findings.  These experiences create aware, involved students and develop stewards to protect and improve the corridor and watershed.

To celebrate the service a party will be held at the end of the year to congratulate participants on their hard work.