Education: A Great Egg Harbor River
has been a centerpiece on the Great Egg Harbor Wild and Scenic River
since the beginning. It was the Great Egg Harbor Watershed Association,
an educational non-profit organization, that sought designation
for the Great Egg Harbor River, and it has continued to provide
a focus on education, outreach and advocacy.
Association's latest project, an adopt-a-stream program, is bringing
students to the water's edge and raising awareness and interest
across a broad spectrum of Atlantic County, New Jersey. With assistance
from the National Park Service, the Watershed Association established
the adopt-a-stream program for middle- and high-schoolers in Egg
Harbor Township and taught teachers how to sample water quality
on the muddy bottom stream.
Association Creates Field Workbooks
Association created field workbooks based on the streamside biosurvey
developed by the Izaak Walton League of America to guide teacher's
lectures and stream sampling. Together, the Watershed Association
and the teachers developed guidebooks for students as well. The
schools reported their water quality findings to the N.J. Department
of the Environment for use in assessing streams within the Great
Egg Harbor River and Watershed.
The students didn't stop with reporting
their findings. They've turned their program into a highly successful
outreach tool by also reporting their findings and an evaluation
of the Adopt-A-Stream program to locally elected officials to gain
continued support for the program. The students also broadcast their
presentations on the local cable channel using video clips of their
field work and interviews, to promote environmental awareness about
the river and the watershed. The schools plan to make their program
available to all schools in the county by sharing their videos over
the Atlantic County Library's distance learning program via direct
T3 Internet connections.
Helps Program Grow
and teacher enthusiasm for the program has helped it grow. In 2000,
Atlantic County supported the program with a watershed management
grant, enabling it to expand into Hamilton Township Middle School.
It has been an excellent awareness tool to educate students, teachers,
and locally elected officials about the importance of protecting
rivers and streams in their area.