Nine middle and high school students enjoyed
a week participating in the 9th Annual Stream
Scholars Summer Camp,
a hands-on exploration of stream ecology and
conservation. The Scholars learned how adult
volunteers sample streams in WV, camped and kayaked on the
lower 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)
Scholars would like to thank:
* Alana Hartman
and Suzi Lucas, WV Department of
Environmental Protection, for instruction;
Westmoreland State Park (VA) for camping and a kayak trip on
the Potomac River;
* 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 about what they are
doing to protect local waters that flow into the Chesapeake
Bay. On Tuesday, 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.
Wednesday was devoted to mini-projects
designed by the campers. At the end of the day, each group
presented their results to their peers, who were more than
happy to peer review their work.
the Scholars headed to Westmoreland State Park, Montrose,
Virginia, on the lower tidal section of the Potomac River
not far from where it flows into the Chesapeake Bay.
More than 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. The original
plan was for a kayak trip on the Potomac on Thursday
afternoon to a tidally influenced marsh for sampling, but
the 115 degree heat index Thursday afternoon was simply too
dangerous. Instead, they spent the afternoon is the
park's pool. That night, the group camped, prepared
the traditional Hobo Stew for dinner, and tried to sleep in
the sweltering heat.
It is always fun to watch the kids with the biggest, most
complex tents work out how to put them up.
On Friday we planned in
the morning to kayak to the marsh for sampling, but the day
started out as dangerously hot as the previous afternoon.
Instead, we went for a short kayaking trip and later, while
most of the group quite reasonably went to the pool and
tried to stay cool, three intrepid souls hiked with Park
Naturalist Shanna Minarikto the marsh to assess the condition of the small
stream that runs through the mash into the Potomac River.
We found a lot of grass shrimp in the reeds near where the
marsh entered into the Potomac River. Further inland,
the marsh waters were remarkably devoid of life.
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