Ten middle and high school students enjoyed a week
participating in the 8th Annual Stream Scholars Summer Camp,
a hands-on exploration of stream ecology and
conservation. The Scholars became Certified WV Save
Our Streams water monitors, visited Washington D.C. for a
sampling cruise on the Potomac, and camped on the Potomac
River not far from where it meets the Chesapeake Bay. They
spent the first three days in and around Waites Run at J.A.
Hawkins (Wardensville Town) Park.
Scholars would like to thank:
Tim Craddock and Alana Hartman, WV Department of
Environmental Protection, for instruction and guidance;
Suzie Lucas for being a chaperone;
Chesapeake Bay Foundation for the sampling trip on the lower
WV Conservation Agency, MARPAT Foundation and our members for financial support.
The Scholars conducted stream habitat assessments and
used field equipment to measure pH, conductivity, and
dissolved oxygen, an important indicator of suitable habitat
for aquatic life. On Monday, Alana Hartman,
WV DEP’s Chesapeake Bay Coordinator, and WVDEP intern
Suzie Lucas spoke to the youth about what the DEP is
doing to protect local waters that flow into the Chesapeake
Bay. She also discussed her career and opportunities
in biology and science. On Tuesday Tim Craddock,
WV DEP’s Citizens Monitoring Coordinator for the
WV Save Our Streams Program, led the training and the
stream investigation. The Scholars investigated how
the population of benthic macroinvertebrates (small animals
without backbones that live on the stream bottom) will show
if a stream is healthy or in trouble.
This year saw a return to the camper led
investigations that were a hallmark of Stream Scholars'
early years (before we started going down to the Bay), and
Wednesday was devoted to mini-projects designed by the campers.
Studies varied from investigations of dissolved oxygen
levels in different parts of the stream at different times
of day (below left), assessments of crawfish population
structure in different stream habitats (below right), and
fish studies. At the end of the day, each group
presented their results to their peers, who were more than
happy to offer peer reviews of their work.
the Scholars headed to Washington D.C. for an afternoon trip
on the Susquehanna, a 42’ research vessel of the Chesapeake
Bay Foundation. The Scholars cruised the Potomac River
in the heart of Washington in view of the Washington
Monument, past Reagan International Airport and the U.S.
Army War College. Then they went past the Blue Plains
Waste Water Treatment Plant, that treats and discharges all
the waste water for D.C. and some of the surrounding area.
It is one of the largest treatment plants in the United
States. Across the River, away from the treatment
plan, Scholars took water samples and measurements, and
explored the results of a fish trawl.
the Scholars camped at Westmoreland State Park,
Virginia, on the lower tidal section of the Potomac River
not far from where it flows into the Chesapeake Bay.
It is always fun to watch the kids with the biggest, most
complex tents work out how to put them up.
On Friday the Scholars visited the
shore of the Potomac near a tidal marsh. Nearly four
miles across at this point, the Potomac River couldn't be
more different than tiny Waites Run in West Virginia, where
the week began.
all had fun, of course, but what is more important they
learned serious lessons about the science of keeping our
waters clean and healthy. Grasping science early will help
Stream Scholars in life. Understand and appreciating how
our local West Virginia waters are connected to the Mid
Atlantic States through the Potomac and Chesapeake will help
them become better citizen of the whole United States.
Institute - From the Cacapon to the Potomac to the Chesapeake Bay,
we protect rivers and watersheds using science and education.
possible by funding from The Norcross Wildlife Foundation, the
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Virginia Environmental
Endowment, NOAA-BWET, USEPA, The MARPAT Foundation, and our generous