“Today’s students are tomorrow’s stewards” is the philosophy behind the Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District’s (MFCRWD) education program. By teaching students about how their actions can affect water quality, they will be empowered to make choices that can positively impact the health of lakes and streams. The District works with area teachers to incorporate water quality education into their classrooms. The MFCRWD staff provide students with hands-on educational opportunities while helping teachers meet state educational requirements.
This program began with just two teachers at a single school and has grown into a formal program across all school districts in the watershed including a partnership with the NFCRWD in one district. The program has officially been named the MFCRWD S.T.R.E.A.M. (Student-Targeted Resource Education, Awareness, and Management) Program. From 2009-2012, District staff worked with more than 1,000 area students.
Funded in part through the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Clean Water Partnership program, the STREAM program begins by building a basic understanding of watersheds and the water cycle before moving into more advanced topics, such as best management practices, erosion, non-point source pollution, stormwater, cumulative effects, water chemistry, and macroinvertebrates – the small bugs that live in our water bodies.
With the STREAM program, District staff utilize dynamic activities to reinforce important concepts and to learn about the impacts of individual actions on our lakes and rivers. Interactive games, a tabletop watershed model, field and laboratory investigations, presentations, and Q&A sessions keep the students engaged while emphasizing the importance of personal responsibility and ownership of our water resources.
Over the past four years, the District has received positive feedback from area teachers. The program has continued to grow and the partnership with our area schools has strengthened. The Board of Mangers and District Staff look forward to seeing the students’ knowledge and understanding of their water resources grow over time!