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Students Get a Lesson in Aquatic Ecology

Grantee: McKean County Conservation District

Project Title: McKean County Boondocs’ Program- Streambank Stabilization

Grant Type: ecoSolution

Description: There over 1,900 miles of waterways in McKean County, Pennsylvania that have served as an essential piece of the county’s community for centuries. Because of their impact, the health of these waterways should be a top priority for the community that surrounds it. That’s why the McKean County Conservation District has decided to make it their mission to protect, preserve and observe these vital waterways.

The McKean County Conservation District created the McKean County Boondocs’ Program for Streambank Stabilization for two main reasons. The first was to assist in the preservation of the waterways and habitats and to protect them from erosion and earth disturbance. The second was to get students more involved in aquatic ecology education while encouraging worth ethic, teamwork, and real-life application of their studies.

Students ranging from ages 14 to 18 were chosen to be involved with a summer work program where they were able to learn more about aquatic habitats and stream restorations while developing an appreciation for wildlife and the environment.

Students also receive a hands-on experience in environmental science. The participants in the program worked to complete projects at four to six stream sites to develop interests in the outdoors and environmental sciences that they wouldn’t have received from a traditional classroom setting.

Continuous impact/Community engagement: The participants in the program were able to finish three large projects that focused on the stabilization of large streams in the waterways. Every student that participated in the program reported that they had developed an understanding of the need for aquatic ecosystems and stream protection.