From the Potomac Headwaters to the Chesapeake Bay


Stream Scholars

Summer Camp 2014

July 21-25


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Stream Scholars Summer Camp 2014 was a huge success!  Our eight campers from across the Potomac Headwaters of WV came together to learn about rivers and watersheds, experience new places and ideas, and have a great time.  Thanks to generous support from CI’s membership, Outdoor Nation, the WV Chesapeake Bay Program, and the Evenor Armington Fund, we were able to provide five days of education, field studies, canoeing and camping.  Cacapon Institute is opening the door on some of the skills and knowledge necessary for our youth to become lifelong stewards of their environment.


On Monday the Stream Scholars met at Morgan’s Grove Park in Shepherdstown, WV.  After several educational ice-breakers they were introduced to the WV Save-Our-Streams protocols for sampling streams they would be using all week.  This was the first of five site visits to different watershed conditions to test water quality.  Each site was selected to represent different aspects of hydrology and geography common in the Potomac Basin of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. 


During lunch, they were visited by Alana Hartman with the WV Department of Environmental Protection who led a discussion about her career and how WV DEP protects rivers and watersheds.

On Tuesday we packed the van and headed west to the Cacapon River where we repeated our Save-Our-Streams protocols to investigate chemistry, habitat, and benthic macroinvertebrates.  We paddled up river in a section known as “Capon Lake” with Kevin Hughes from FLOC Outdoor Education Center in Harpers Ferry, WV.  Kevin has decades of experience leading canoeing, rock climbing, and high adventure.  He encouraged the Stream Scholars to pursue careers where they can protect the environment while having fun at the same time.


On Wednesday the 3-day camping trip began with a canoe trip on the Shenandoah River.  This time our guide was Brent Walls, the Upper Potomac Riverkeeper, who talked to the students about how he protects the Potomac Watershed from pollution.  Brent shared the importance of understanding non-point source water pollution, the kind each and every one of us can help to control every day.  The Scholars showed Brent how they investigate the health of the river. 


After canoeing and a quick lunch we drove to Point Lookout State Park, Maryland, where the Potomac River meets the Chesapeake Bay.  We quickly set up camp, dodged a thunderstorm, and made a delicious dinner of our traditional Stream Scholars Hobo Stew.  Then we all got well rested for the next big day.

On Thursday the day’s adventures started with a boating trip aboard Dee of Saint Mary’s, a retired skipjack recently donated to Calvert County Marine Museum by Jack Russel.  Museum staff and volunteers discussed the history of watermen of the Chesapeake Bay and the importance of oysters.  Did you know that after Hudson River oysters were fished-out Maryland enacted laws to keep New Yorkers out so only Maryland and Virginia waterman could work the Bay for oysters?


The Scholars got to taste of life on a working, oyster-dredging skipjack.  They received a safety lesson, learned some navigation skills, hauled in a oyster dredge, and hoisted the sails!  After boating the Stream Scholars were offered a private tour of the museum’s J.C.  Lore Oyster House and learned the role oysters play in cleaning and filtering the Bay. 


From the museum on Solomons Island we hustled over for a tour of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Studies Chesapeake Biological Laboratory.  Sarah Brzezinski, a former NOAA Chesapeake Bay Program Education Fellow, showed the Scholars the Rachel Carson, an 81-foot, 75 ton research vessel christened in 2008.


After a full day of adventure and guided tours the Scholars headed back to camp for a dinner of “Chesapeake Chowder” made with fresh Bay seafood and local produce.  Spirits stayed high despite a steady rain and our Stream Scholars received a fire-side lecture from famed historian and Civil War re-enactor Bob Crickenberger.  Dressed in full civil war regalia, Bob spoke about the history of Point Lookout State Park, Fort Lincoln, and the prison camp for hapless captured Confederates.  Bob believes it is important to understand history so we don’t repeat our mistakes.  He has been an extra in movies including Gods and Generals, Glory, and Gettysburg.  He and the Friends of Point Lookout care for Fort Lincoln and are researching individual soldiers’ stories, both of prisoners and guards.  If you want to know the best avenue to escape the prison 150 years ago you’ll have to ask a Stream Scholar.


On Friday, after packing up a wet camp, we had one more adventure in a grand round trip on Lake Tanner.  The “lake” is one of the marshlands at Point Lookout State Park so our canoe trip was led by MD Park Service Ranger Jonas Williams.  It was our fifth and last day to break out our water quality field lab equipment and test dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature, and salinity as we adapted WV Save-Our-Streams methods to the Tidal Potomac.  The Scholars had to employ their new canoeing skills to overcome a stiff breeze as we paddled past a Terrapin turtle, got down in the reeds, and saw a number of birds including heron, osprey, and eagles.  During our lunch break the students got to explore the park’s Nature Center and Civil War Museum.


On behalf of our Stream Scholars, Cacapon Institute and our members and Board of Directors extend a special thanks to FLOC Outdoor Center, UMCES, Calvert Marine Museum, MD DNR Park Service, Potomac Riverkeeper; and all the guides, speakers, and educators who shared how they protect rivers and watersheds.  Our Scholars showed up every day with open, eager, minds and you took it from there.  Thank you!


Cacapon Institute - From the Cacapon to the Potomac to the Chesapeake Bay, we protect rivers and watersheds using science and education.

Cacapon Institute
PO Box 68
High View, WV 26808
304-856-1385 (tele)
304-856-1386 (fax)
Click here to send us an email
Frank Rodgers,  Executive Director

Website  made possible by funding from The Norcross Wildlife Foundation,  the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Virginia Environmental Endowment, NOAA-BWET, USEPA, The MARPAT Foundation, and our generous members.