Stream Team Inspires Citizen Science at Nazareth

Posted by Julia Gerwe

June 21, 2022

AmeriCorps Volunteer, Julia Gerwe, helps local Stream Team youth identify aquatic macroinvertebrates, indicators of water quality, in Froman Creek at Nazareth.

The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth’s partnership with New Pioneers for a Sustainable Future and the Nelson County 4-H program has been making a splash through Stream Team: a collaborative youth program aimed at educating and empowering local youth to care for their watershed.

Since the program’s kickoff in March, local youth ages 6-18 and their families have visited Nazareth monthly to learn about watersheds, water quality indicators, and the process of measuring these indicators.

This month, seven youth participants gathered to collect their first round of data to report to the Kentucky Watershed Watch, a statewide citizens monitoring effort aimed at improving and protecting water quality by raising community awareness.

Participants measured dissolved oxygen, temperature, pH, and turbidity – four indicators of stream health – of Froman Creek, which runs along the north side of Nazareth and leads to the Salt River Watershed.

Participants also collected a diverse array of aquatic macroinvertebrate species in the creek – including crawfish, water pennies, slugs, and caddisfly larvae. The students especially enjoyed using aquatic collection nets and turning over rocks in the stream to find, collect, and identity these insects!

To wrap things up, participants and families enjoyed a pizza party to celebrate their first successful data collection, courtesy of Nelson County 4-H.

This month’s program was co-led by Whitney Wurzel, Executive Director of New Pioneers for a Sustainable Future; Seth Thompson, AmeriCorps Volunteer with New Pioneers for a Sustainable Future; Danielle Hagler, Nelson County Cooperative Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences; and Nazareth’s Julia Gerwe.

The group looks forward to collecting another round of data in July and completing a service project to represent Stream Team and educate the community about watershed health during the Nelson County 4-H’s 2022 Carnival on June 23.

To view more photos from this Stream Team meeting, and meetings in previous months, click the photo below.

Stream Team participants take a break after this month’s pizza party to smile alongside program leaders: Julia Gerwe (left, back), Seth Thompson (center, back), Whitney Wurzel (center back, right), and Danielle Hagler (back, right).

1 Comment

  1. Eugenie Coakley scna

    As a biostatistician I am totally psyched by this program! I hope the Stream Team continues to rock it out (pun fully intended)!


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