Watershed Week

 Watershed Week is a pilot project of activities using a hands-on approach to teach Northwest Connecticut middle school and high school students about watersheds.

After learning how pollutants enter our rivers, 30 sixth grade students at North Canaan Elementary School came up with ideas to end the problem. They suggested cleaning out town storm drains or putting filters on the drains to stop garbage from being dumped into rivers.

The week-long journey into watershed science stimulated these young minds to find solutions. The first few days were spent in the classroom. Students took turns placing fake pollutants on a miniature town and watershed model. They then sprayed water simulating rain to see how pollutants move through the town into storm drains and then into rivers and streams.

Collecting creepy crawlers

The final day was spent in the Blackberry River learning about the history of the Beckley furnace and taking water samples. Despite cooler temperatures and the threat of rain, the students happily jumped into the water kicking over rocks in search of macroinvertebrates (aquatic insects) and taking water samples for chemistry tests.

The water was teeming with a variety of macroinvertebrates indicating a clean, healthy river. The chemistry tests revealed the water had high amounts of dissolved oxygen and low amount of nutrients — both good!

Support from the Community Foundation of Northwest Connecticut, The Berkshire Taconic Foundation as well as the Cornwall Foundation launched this pilot project.

Kids wrap up a mini bio-blitz on the Still River

Fourth graders at Park Avenue Elementary School in Danbury also spent a day on the river and completed a mini "bio-blitz" on the Still River Greenway to study aquatic life, water quality, and habitat. Park School’s participation was made possible through a grant from the Albert W. and Helen C. Meserve Memorial Fund.

Mini creatures dug up in Far Mill River

Students from Sterling House in Stratford, ankle deep in the Far Mill River in early June, also filled their nets with wiggling, brown multi-legged creatures. The captured mini monsters revealed that the river is healthy. This program was funded by the Fairfield County Community Foundation.