Sierra Gladfelter

Schuylkill Acts and Impacts: An Expedition to Inspire Watershed Action

Schuylkill Acts and Impacts will be a week-long summer program offered to a team of 10 high school students from diverse communities within the Schuylkill River Watershed. The program involves a physical journey along the 120-mile Schuylkill River from its headwaters in the anthracite coal lands of Schuylkill County to its confluence with the Delaware River in Philadelphia. Team leaders and professionals will guide students downriver, illustrating the array of issues affecting water quality and river ecology. Students will paddle stretches of the river with biologists and conduct basic water quality monitoring, tour abandoned and active coal mines, visit farms to examine stream bank erosion, and walk Philadelphia's streets to witness pioneering work in mitigating storm water. Each stop will involve a half-day service project. Daily writing assignments will ensure students reflect on watershed issues they encounter and make connections to their own habits and water usage. Introducing the next generation of potential environmental leaders to issues facing the river, this program will challenge participants to take action in their own stretch of the watershed. If the pilot is successful, Schuylkill Acts and Impacts will become an annual program administered jointly by the Schuylkill Headwaters Association and members of the Schuylkill Action Network to build youth capacity in environmental activism.

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