Get involved in a citizen science or service learning project and help protect freshwater resources!
Alliance for the Great Lakes
Adopt-a-Beach™ is the Alliance's premier volunteer program, with nearly 13,000 participants ranging from individuals and families to schools and businesses. More than just a beach sweep, Adopt-a-Beach™ teams clear litter, monitor shorelines and complete a beach health assessment that includes science-based observations and testing. Teams collect information and enter it into our Adopt-a-Beach™ online system to share with local beach authorities, educate the public and improve beaches.
The Art of Conservation: State-Fish Art Program K-12
From Wildlife Forever
The deadline is always March 31. A State-Fish Art content entry consistes of two parts:
- an original horizontal 9” x 12” art illustration of any state fish on this "official state-fish list" http://www.wildlifeforever.org/contest/list
- a personally written one side of one page relating to their chosen fish species, its behavior, habitat or conservation issues and/or needs.
Change the Course (What is Your Water Footprint?)
From National Geographic
http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/ . . ./freshwater/change-the-course/water-footprint-calculator/
Take a water tour with us through your home, yard, diet, energy, and consumer choices! Then, pledge to cut your water footprint and help return more water to rivers, lakes, wetlands, underground aquifers, and freshwater species.
Citizen Science Water Monitoring
Most states have a citizen science water monitoring program. In many cases, these projects include stream monitoring (dissolved oxygen, temperature, transparency, flow, habitat and macroinvertebrates), river clean-ups, and storm drain stenciling, which alert citizens to the fact that water or pollutants that goes into storm drains is not treated. For information on becoming a water monitor, conduct an Internet search for water monitoring in your state or locality. Also check out the resources on EPA’s Volunteer Monitoring page.
Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network (CoCoRaHS)
From the Colorado Climate Center and other partners
CoCoRaHS is an acronym for the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network. CoCoRaHS is a unique, non-profit, community-based network of volunteers of all ages and backgrounds working together to measure and map precipitation (rain, hail and snow). By using low-cost measurement tools, stressing training and education, and utilizing an interactive Web-site, our aim is to provide the highest quality data for natural resource, education and research applications. CoCoRaHSis now in all fifty states.
From the Izaak Walton League
A project of the Izaak Walton League of America that provides the information and tools you need to lead hands-on activities to encourage kids to explore streams and become local advocates for improving water quality.
Down the Drain Project
From The Center for Innovation in Science and Engineering, Stevens Institute of Technology
How much water do you use every day in your home? Would you be surprised to learn that according to the USGS the average American uses between 80-100 gallons (approx. 300 - 375 liters) of water per day? Do you think people in other parts of the world use more or less water than Americans? Well, this collaborative project will help you find out the answers to these questions. By collecting data on water usage from people around the world you will be able to see how your water use compares to others and determine what you might do to use less water.
Dragonfly Pond Watch Program
From the Migratory Dragonfly Partnership
Dragonfly Pond Watch is a volunteer-based program of the Migratory Dragonfly Partnership (MDP) to investigate the annual movements of five major migratory dragonfly species in North America: Common Green Darner (Anax junius), Black Saddlebags (Tramea lacerata), Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens), Spot-winged Glider (Pantala hymenaea), and Variegated Meadowhawk (Sympetrum corruptum). By visiting the same wetland or pond site on a regular basis, participants will be placed to note the arrival of migrant dragonflies moving south in the fall or north in the spring, as well as to record when the first resident adults of these species emerge in the spring. Collecting seasonal information at local ponds will increase our knowledge of the timing and location of dragonfly migration across North America, and expand our understanding of the relationship between migrant and resident populations within the same species.
EPA’s Adopt Your Watershed
From the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
No matter where you live, you live in a watershed. A watershed is the land area that drains to a single body of water such as a stream, lake, wetland or aquifer (an underground layer of water). Watersheds come in many different sizes. A few acres might drain into a small stream or wetland, or a few large rivers might drain into an estuary – where fresh water and salt water mix. The actions of people who live in a watershed affect the health of the waters that run through it. Rainfall and snowmelt wash chemicals, fertilizers, sediment, and other pollutants from the land into water bodies. To achieve healthy watersheds, EPA needs the help of people like you!
FrogWatch USA is a citizen science program that allows individuals and families to learn about the wetlands in their communities and help conserve amphibians by reporting the calls of local frogs and toads. For over ten years, volunteers have been trained to enter their FrogWatch USA information and ongoing analyses of these data have been used to help develop practical strategies for the conservation of these important species.
Hudson Estuary Trees for Tribs
From the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Hudson Estuary Trees for Tribs (tribs as in tributaries) program engages volunteers in restoring thousands of feet of streamside buffer through native trees and shrub planting. The program offers land owners with free native trees and shrubs for qualifying riparian buffer planting/restoration projects. Trees for Tribs staff may also be able to assist with plant selection, designing a planting plan, and other technical support to improve the odds of success for projects.
Join the National River Cleanup
From American Rivers
National River Cleanup® was launched in 1991, offering support to individuals, organizations and anyone interested in conducting a cleanup on their local river. By registering a cleanup with American Rivers, organizers receive free trash bags, assistance with online and print media coverage, volunteer promotion online and technical support.
National Public Lands Day
National Public Lands Day (NPLD) is the nation's largest, single-day volunteer event for public lands in the United States, and many of these activities involve rivers, streams and water quality. NPLD educates Americans about critical environmental and natural resource issues and the need for shared stewardship of these valued, irreplaceable lands; builds partnerships between the public sector and the local community based upon mutual interests in the enhancement and restoration of America's public lands; and improves public lands for outdoor recreation, with volunteers assisting land managers in hands-on work.
Shad in the Schools
A number of schools on the East Coast are involved in raising shad. American shad is a migratory fish that used to be prevalent in many river systems on the East Coast. The fish spawns in freshwaters and lives most of its life in the ocean. It plays a very important part of the food chain in these river systems, and American shad played a significant role in the survival of the indigenous people and the first settlers to the New World. Whether you release one American shad fry or 1,000, students will have hands-on activities that will help them learn about food webs, river basins, mapping activities, water quality, and river flow rates. There are several extension activities where students can expand their learning and earn a certificate, or find their ecological footprint.
Many citizens have formed “stream teams” to monitor, protect, and clean waterways in their neighborhoods. If you are interested in participating in those activities, conduct an Internet search for a team at a stream near you.
Trout in the Classroom
From Trout Unlimited
Trout in the Classroom (TIC) is an environmental education program in which students in grades K-12:
- raise trout from eggs to fry
- monitor tank water quality
- engage in stream habitat study
- learn to appreciate water resources
- begin to foster a conservation ethic
- grow to understand ecosystems
Most programs end the year by releasing their trout in a state-approved stream near the school or within a nearby watershed. During the year each teacher tailors the program to fit his or her curricular needs. Therefore, each program is unique. TIC has interdisciplinary applications in science, social studies, mathematics, language arts, fine arts, and physical education. For more information on possible activities and lessons, please see the Teachers tab.
Surf Your Watershed
From the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Find your watershed using a simple form. Once you locate your watershed, simply click on the first link, “citizen-based groups at work in this watershed,” to find a listing of organizations that are working to protect water quality. You may wish to contact one of these groups to find out about cleanups, monitoring activities, restoration projects and other activities.
Water Supply Stress Index (WaSSI) Ecosystem Services Model
From the USDA Forest Service
WaSSI is an integrated, process-based model that can be used to project the effects of forest land cover change, climate change, and water withdrawals on river flows, water supply stress, and ecosystem productivity (i.e. carbon dynamics). It allows users to define a custom simulation scenario, view/download model inputs and outputs in tabular and graphical form for a location of interest, and view/export model outputs spatially for a variety of time scales using an interactive map viewer.
Waterkeeper Alliance, Inc. connects and supports local Waterkeeper programs to provide a voice for waterways and their communities worldwide. To champion clean water and strong communities, Waterkeeper Alliance, Inc.:
- Supports and empowers member Waterkeeper organizations to protect communities, ecosystems and water quality;
- Promotes the Waterkeeper model for watershed protection worldwide; and
- Advocates for issues common to Waterkeeper programs.
To find a Waterkeeper near you, go to http://waterkeeper.org/local-waterkeepers/find-your-waterkeeper/
Watershed Land Trust, Inc.
The WLT Adopt-A-Wetland Program is a hands-on education program that promotes wetland conservation and land stewardship through volunteer monitoring. Thousands of wetlands are impacted and also created/restored as a result of highway and bridge construction. The Adopt-A-Wetland program can be in conjunction with the Adopt-A-Highway program established in the late 1980's. These wetlands are often forgotten and neglected.
The goals are to:
1. Educate the public on the importance of wetlands
2. Increase public awareness of water quality issues
3. Train students and citizens to monitor and protect wetlands
4. Collect baseline wetland health data
5. Move the curriculum outdoors
6. Assist Departments of Transportation and others in monitoring and improving our natural resources.
World Water Monitoring Day
World Water Monitoring Day™ is an international education and outreach program that builds public awareness and involvement in protecting water resources around the world by engaging citizens to conduct basic monitoring of their local water bodies.
Wyland National “Water Is Life” Mural and Art Challenge
From the Wyland Foundation
The theme for the 2015 Wyland National 'Water is Life" Mural and Art Challenge is "Our Coast and Climate." Enter to win 1 of 100 free 5 x 8 mural canvases for your class to take part in the 2015 Mural and Art Challenge. Simply fill out a form online and Wyland will notify the winners (chosen at random) during summer 2015. The 2015 Mural Art Content categories include grades K-4, 5-8, and 9-12. The class in each category whose mural best expresses their understanding of and appreciation for "Our Coast and Climate" will receive art supplies and a grand prize signed Wyland artwork. Schools may register multiple classes.