From the Potomac Headwaters to the Chesapeake Bay

Stream Scholars Summer Camp 2007  

July 23 - 27

Stream Scholars in Other Years: 2003  2004  2005   2006  2008   2009   2010  2011  2012  2013  2014

Stream Scholars would like to thank:

Mayhew Chevrolet (Romney) for donating use of a van; WV Department of Environmental Protection for instruction and guidance from Tim Craddock and Alana Hartman; WV Conservation Agency, MARPAT Foundation and our members for financial support; and Hank Saville, Shaun Penn-Morgan, and Jan & Jen Gillies for helping out.

Eight middle and high school students, staff, and guests enjoyed our last week in July participating in the 5th Annual Stream Scholars Summer Camp, a hands-on exploration of stream ecology and conservation.  We enjoyed wading in a WV stream, working in a water quality laboratory, working with computers and instruments, cruising on a research vessel, and digging through slimy black muck dredged from the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay.

The Scholars spent their first three days in and around Waites Run at the Wardensville Town Park.  There they learned how to conduct stream habitat assessments, use field and laboratory equipment to perform chemical analyses, and study how to use benthic macroinvertebrates (to see some of the small animals without backbones that live on the stream bottom click here) to tell if a stream is healthy or in trouble.  Alana Hartman, West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s Potomac Basin Coordinator, and Tim Craddock, WVDEP’s Citizens Monitoring Coordinator for the WV Save Our Streams Program, provided training and course materials.

The Scholars spent the final two days of camp on an overnight trip to the Chesapeake Bay.  We visited the Calvert County Maritime Museum where aquarium curator Ken Kaumeyer and biologist Linda Hanna took us on a behind-the-scenes tour of the aquariums to see a variety of fish and other animal life that live in the Bay’s estuary, the area where fresh and saltwater mix.  We also learned how the aquarists raise some of the animals on display, such as skates and rays.  Later, we toured a lighthouse and saw how the keeper and his family once lived, poised above the water.  We camped that evening at Point Lookout State Park, Maryland, where the Potomac River flows into the Chesapeake Bay.  After making dinner, we stayed up late getting up close to some of the Bay’s inhabitants, like jellyfish and crabs, at the park’s dock.     

On the second day of the trip Steam Scholars visited the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Chesapeake Biology Laboratory and took a trip on the Research Vessel Aquarius, a 53 ton, 65 foot long ship equipped with a laboratory and an impressive array of scientific equipment.  The students were guided on a two hour tour by Education Specialist Jackie Takacs, winner of the 2005-2006 Outstanding Sea Grant Extension Program Award by the Mid-Atlantic Sea Grant Extension Programs.  While aboard the Scholars netted fish, trolled for plankton, sampled the river bottom, dredged for oysters, and utilized an $80,000 water sampler to test for temperature, salinity and other factors at various depths.

We all had fun, of course, but what is more important we learned serious lessons about the science of keeping our waters clean and healthy.  Grasping science early will help Stream Scholars in life.  Emily Bradfield, in her second year of stream scholars, know this.  She says:  “I aspire to be a veterinarian and because of that I want to learn as much about biology and life as I possible can.  I also support the environment and I like to learn new ways I can help prevent the destruction of our ecosystems.”  

In the heat of one afternoon, we spent some time indoors competing for the best score playing Stream Cleaner, an activity housed in Cacapon Institute’s internet-based Potomac Highlands Watershed School.  Playing the game, we learned about management decisions people can make on their own lands to help keep our waters clean.  Armed with this knowledge, we were impressed that the Wardensville Town Park was protecting Waites Run from pollution by not cutting the thick forest that grows along the stream bank., This ribbon of forest, known as a riparian buffer, between the park grounds and the stream protects Waites Run by reducing erosion, filtering pollution before it reaches the stream, and providing shade for the stream.

During the 2007-2008 school year some Stream Scholars will continue their activities with Cacapon Institute in the new Potomac Headwaters Leaders of Watershed program.  PHLOW is teams of student leaders who get special lessons on watershed science and develop their own watershed protection projects.  By learning about and protecting our watersheds, the area of land that delivers water to streams and rivers, the young leaders will help keep West Virginian’s waters safe, clean, and beautiful.


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.