School Stream Monitoring Program
Field trips take place at streams and rivers across western Montana each fall and spring. Most schools visit the same reach each season to facilitate seasonal and long-term comparisons of chemical, physical, and biological data. Field trips are a great way for students to get out of the classroom, get field science experience, and learn about their watershed from a scientific inquiry perspective. Most schools complement their field experience with a classroom visit both before and after their trip to the creek to introduce concepts and discuss results respectively.
WHY DOES WEN MONITOR STREAMS?
Initial data collected at any one site provides scientists with baseline information about the health of a particular stream. Systematic data collection at the same location over time enables us to form a historical picture of the stream or river’s condition. In the broader picture, stream monitoring helps students become more familiar with their local waterways. And once acquainted with local streams, they are more apt to notice changes and in watershed health. In this process, students begin to understand how local waterways fit into the larger picture of the watershed. Additionally, increasing awareness and sense-of-place relationships naturally encourages watershed stewardship.
WHAT DO WE MEASURE?
Chemical, Physical, and Biological Parameters based on Montana Watercourse’s Volunteer Stream Monitoring Project. We have recently started using Healthy Water/Healthy People Advanced Surface Water Testing Kits, which measure nutrients, turbidity, minerals and electro-conductivity.
WEN FIELD ETHICS
Respect where you are, whether you are on public land or private property.
Use designated trails.
Keep field site impacts to a minimum; in other words, Leave No Trace.
Our conduct in the field should set a good example, worthy enough for others to follow.