Explore and Restore Maryland Streams

Children in streamLessons and tools for classroom and field study of streams

A complete investigation of stream health can include all of the below sections, and lead to a meaningful student action project. Any of the sections can also be done alone. A combination of classroom and field experiences can be part of a sustained program over time that includes time for student reflection, allowing them to focus on a question, problem, or issue.

Components of a “Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience” include background research and investigation, field experiences engaging students in making observations and collecting data, and syntheses and conclusions resulting from analysis of their data; followed by actions that address an issue, whether through on the ground projects or outreach within their community.

Find a Stream Near You

Background and Classroom Preparation

Stream Study Activities

  1. Biological Assessment of Stream Health

  2. Chemical Water Quality Testing

  3. Stream Corridor Assessment – Physical Features

  4. Geomorphic properties – Shape, Volume, and Flow

Sharing and Analyzing Data – Tools for Inquiry

Action Projects

Additional Educational Resources

Stream Study Equipment

​​What’s New?

In workshops across the state, biologists and environmental education specialists have led groups of teachers through streamside activities: identifying stream-bottom aquatic insects, sampling chemical water quality, and observing conditions in the surrounding habitat. These features can be used to determine the health of a stream, including how polluted it is, or other ecological pressures.  To learn more or schedule a workshop in your area, please email us.

Learning continues in the classroom, as students can use National Geographic’s online mapping tool, Maryland FieldScope to help analyze their findings and compare it to that of others. Students will determine how conditions and activities in their school and surrounding community are affecting their stream, and devise an action project they can undertake to address the problems they have observed.