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General News: Engaging More Youth in Stream Monitoring

Outdoor America 2018 Issue 4

In November, the League signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Trout Unlimited and the American Fisheries Society to work together to engage high-school students in natural resource conservation activities. The goal is to build environmental awareness among students and show them how to use data they collect to conserve, protect, and restore lands and waters in their communities.

Dr. Kirk Smith, a science teacher at James Madison High School in Vienna, Virginia, started a “Trout Out of the Classroom” club for his students six years ago. Club members learn how to measure dissolved oxygen and flow rates in streams into which they are releasing brook trout raised in the classroom. Dr. Smith helped connect the Izaak Walton League, Trout Unlimited, and American Fisheries Society to expand this effort to give students real-world experience in using science to achieve conservation goals.

League staff trained two dozen James Madison students on macroinvertebrate monitoring using the League’s Save Our Streams protocols. This adds a biological element to chemical tests students are already performing. Biological monitoring offers a longer term view of stream health than a one-time measurement of flow and dissolved oxygen.

This effort is expanding to other high schools in northern Virginia with the hope of eventually reaching students nationwide.

For more details and photos, read the blog by IWLA Save Our Streams Manager Samantha Briggs at iwla.org/blog.