PHLOW - How it Began

Potomac Headwaters Leaders of Watersheds

The best thing about PHLOW - Potomac Headwaters Leaders of Watersheds - is that youth are the leaders who decide what activities to do.  Students who participate in PHLOW Teams meet monthly during the school year and get together for two or three Saturdays also.  There will be team in several counties in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.  All the teams will be part of a community of support in neighboring counties.  This community will  provide an opportunity for the teams to help each other and also competition during the year.  Teams can choose from a range of service learning activities once they determine which ones best suit their school and community.  Professionals and volunteers from the Cacapon Institute, WV  Conservation Agency, and WV Department of Environmental Protection will provide support for the planning and implementation of projects but it is the youth who make the final decision.


PHLOW Teams can make up their own projects or choose to do some of these activities (click on the title to learn more): 


Conduct watershed surveys of their school grounds or community public lands.


Devise Watershed Management Plan.


Implement Best Management Practices. 


Run a Native Tree Nursery.


Hold A Watershed Stewardship Fair.


Start a Public Outreach Campaign.


Build a Stream Table (at East Hardy High School).


Plant some trees (at Capon Bridge Middle School).


Do a school grounds survey to identify sources of non point pollution, then fix the problems. 


Install a Green Roof!


Or Something Completely Different.


You don't want to miss out on the fun, the friends you will make, or how service learning will make you proud!

To sign up.  Send an Email to:  Frank Rodgers.  Or pick up the phone and call 304-856-1385.

A watershed is the land where all the rain runs to the same body of water such as a pond, stream, or river.  Watersheds start small and add together to cover bigger and bigger areas of land.  For example, stream watersheds join together to become river watersheds.  In West Virginia the mountains and hills show us where watersheds separate.  Just look up and figure out which way rain would flow when it runs down hill.

Watershed Activities


What is a watershed?


Watershed Puzzle II


Watershed Creator


Stream Cleaner

All of these activities are accessible through the Potomac Highlands Watershed School.  Just click on the activity name on the blackboard here.

Conduct watershed surveys of their school grounds or community public lands.   Every wonder where you were?  PHLOW Teams will learn about mapping.   Mapping can tell you where you are and where you are going.  Mapping can also help tell the story about a piece of land or property.  Teams will learn mapping and try out Global Positioning Systems, some of the newest electronic gear professionals use to figure out where they are.  Team will also make their our own maps using color pictures taken from a plane called aerial photography.  This information will help teams decide where they want to do a service learning project.  We all want to have the best school and community we can and there is always lots of work to do.  You can look at paths, parking, buildings, pavement, buildings, woods, and lots more.


Devise watershed management plan to beautify and improve your school grounds.  PHLOW teams will use their maps to help decide what to do to fix problems and make improvements.  Your Team will have to work together to think clearlly, identify problems, discuss solutions, and develop plans.  There are many professionals who can help you and share what they know about gardens, tree planting, erosion control, and other options.  You will be helping to design a plan to make your school or community a better place for the younger students.

Implement Best Management Practices - work with professionals and volunteers to organize projects that will make your school and community a better place.  After the survey, review, and planning process students must get approval from the appropriate authorities (Principals, PTA, BOE, etc.).  Next, PHLOW Teams must, with the help of their mentors and the PHLOW grant, secure resources.  Under the supervision of CI, WVCA and other project partners, and in cooperation with local adult civic organizations, the Teams will then organize ser­vice days.  This approval and implementation process will strengthen the important leadership skills of persuasive communication, resource management, and plan implementation.

Run a Native Tree Nursery - Learn how to grow trees from seed, collect seeds to grow, and plant small trees in pots and care for them.  PHLOW Teams' nurseries will provide a much needed supply of native trees and shrubs for riparian plantings.  Native plants, the ones that have always grown here naturally, are important for wildlife and stream health.  A healthy forest is the best way to ensure a healthy stream.  Overseeing the nurseries is an important job.  You can learn tree identification, growing techniques, and management skills.

Hold A Watershed Stewardship Fair - identify, invite, and schedule experts to come to your school or club.  Your Team can show off their own work at the fairs too.  Show what you learned about watersheds

Start a Public Outreach Campaign -  Once you learn all about watersheds like how to help the streams, use water wisely, and prevent pollution you'll want to share that information.  You can make your own brochure, speak to people, and share what you learned.  PHLOW Your Teams could make a  presentations to local civic groups, and social organizations, Ruritans, Lions Clubs, church groups, and others about watershed issues, and the value of good land management.  Lots of what we know about streams and watersheds is new and you'll be surprised how interested adults will be.

Something Completely Different

Hampshire High School Deer Exclusion Experiment.  At Hampshire High School the students built a fence to keep deer out of some part of their woods.  Keeping the deer out will help small trees grow and make the forest more healthy.  A healthy forest is the best thing for a healthy wateshed.  To see them put up their fence click here.

Tree Huggers!  At East Hardy Middle School about 40 students formed a club to do a number of service projects.  They passed out trees to younger students on Arbor Day (the national day to think about the importance of trees), they planted trees, they cleaned a stream, and they helped with school recycling.  The students took pictures for you to see here.

Funding for West Virginia Commission for National and Community Service and Potomac Headwaters Leaders of Watersheds Service-Learning Project is provided by a Learn and Serve America: Community-Based Grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service.

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

Cacapon Institute
#10 Rock Ford Road
Great Cacapon, WV 25422
304-258-8013 (tele)

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.