Stream Teams

Stream Teams are comprised of environmentally-minded students who meet regularly during the school year and explore their local waterway. Our groups focus on asking questions and creating solutions for improving the health of their stream. 

At Stream Team, kids get to dip their toes in real-world science. Our team will help teach the students about the basics of water quality testing, flow measurement, macro-invertebrate sampling, common creek restoration methods, and the ecosystem as a whole.

Program Details

Setting up your stream team

Stream Team is uniquely geared towards your group. You, as a leader or facilitator, will work closely with a WaterWays representative to develop your program. Stream Team can be as simple as an after school club that meets once a month to play, explore, and collect data or a weekly in-school program with those same objectives. Or the program can be more in-depth, covering topics such as aquatic chemistry, environmental engineering, and socio-economic aspects of freshwater. Here are some steps for leading a successful Stream Team:


  1. Engage students with their local creek, river, or stream
  2. Collect data (water quality testing, macro-invertebrate study)
  3. Develop ideas on how to improve your local waterway and take positive actions (stewardship projects) in your watershed
  4. Document your Stream Team program (video, photos, illlustrations, creative writing)
  5. Celebrate success with other Stream Teams at the end of the school year!

Training & Materials Provided

WaterWays provides a free initial leader training and some materials. Full materials can be provided to outings that WaterWays facilitates. Materials will include items such as nets, macro-invertebrate identification sheets, activity supplies, and water quality testing kits. Some materials can be created for or loaned to those wishing to facilitate the program themselves.

For more information about starting your Stream Team, please email our Watershed Education Coordinator at emily@mywaterways.org.

Download our Educator Guide to learn more about bringing Stream Team to your school:

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Commonly Asked Questions:

Who leads the program?

Teachers and mentors are responsible for leading the team. WaterWays will provide training and some materials for the program. Waterways can also facilitate sessions at a rate of $100 per hour and provide full materials.

Is the program during school or after?

Your Stream Team can meet after school like a club or during school in lieu of class. This is entirely up to you!

What type of data are we collecting?

Students can test for pH, bacteria, dissolved oxygen, nitrates, nitrites, and phosphates. Your group can also assess water quality by a macro-invertebrate survey. Certain macro-invertebrates cannot tolerate pollution. The presence of intolerant macro-invertebrates can indicate a healthy ecosystem and vice versa of the absence of those critters.

Why are we collecting data?

The data collected by your Stream Team will be available to the public on our website www.mywaterways.org. WaterWays is building an interactive map that will show all the Stream Team data collected. Eventually, we hope to build a comprehensive and current overview of our local stream health!

While not all action projects will require funding, some more extensive projects might. How will we pay for a stewardship project?

WaterWays can help your team present their  ideas to the schools/land owners of the chosen stream. WaterWays will also help search for grants to fund the project as well as aiding in the development of the project.

Does the stewardship project have to involve construction?

No. Not all local waterways require alteration of the land for improvement. Your project could be a simple awareness campaign where the students identify the issues and conceptually solve those issues.