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Now is the perfect time to get involved with protecting our freshwater resources with volunteer events, free training and education classes and family-friendly activities throughout the year!

Stream Leaders is a place-based, outdoor education program that provides middle and high school students with hands-on experience in water quality monitoring, data interpretation and citizen action. The curriculum aims to raise young people’s awareness of the importance of water quality in their local region and cultivate a connection to the Great Lakes Basin.


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Stream Leaders is an outdoor education program that fosters experiences in citizen science, civic engagement, and environmental stewardship.

Stream Leader classrooms have a chance to participate in real field research and get out into the river with scientists and mentors. CRWC Staff teaches students about water quality testing, stream assessment practices and aquatic insect identification. Students have an opportunity to showcase their experiences and continue building school-community partnerships at our Annual Student Congress.


Upper Elementary, Middle school, and High school students within the Clinton River Watershed, Lake St. Clair Direct Drainage Area and Anchor Bay sub-watershed are eligible to participate in this program. Stream Leaders is best suited for Middle school, High school and College-age students, although adaptations can be made for Elementary school ages. 


Would you like your school or classroom to become involved in the Stream Leaders program?
Email to get started!
For more information on the program, join us for our Fall Informational Webinar on September 5th from 5-6pm.
Organizations and businesses are invited to participate by sponsoring a Stream Leaders classroom. Sponsorship can include providing financial assistance for supplies, equipment, transportation and more. The Stream Leaders Program is good science and great fun for everyone involved!
Are you a STEM professional interested in becoming a mentor for local students? 
Apply to become a Stream Leaders mentor here! 


Want your school to monitor in 2023?

Click here to get started.


Did your school monitor for Stream Leaders?

Click here to enter your data.

Download the Stream Leaders participant resources here 



stream leaders participant resources

Click on the links below to download all the information needed for the Stream Leaders Program.


Stream Leaders Introduction: general description of the water quality monitoring program for students, its goals and objectives, what’s expected from you as the participant, and what the watershed council contributes.

Grade Level Expectations: Correlations to Stream Leaders Water Quality Monitoring Program Middle and High School.

Stream Leaders Monitoring Guide: Monitoring protocols and procedures.

Wader Safety: Anytime you get into the water there are precautions and guidelines to follow. This outlines a few things to be especially aware of in an urban setting. 

Supplies Checklist 

Data Forms & Samplings

Chemical Data Form: This is the GREEN chemical data form used to record chemical sampling results.

Physical Data Form: This is the form used to record physical inventory observations.

Biological Data Form: This is the form used to record macroinvertebrate sampling information.

Macroinvertebrate Sampling Tips: This document provides information about the different macroinvertebrates habitats and how to sample them.

Common Macroinvertebrates of the Clinton River: This document provides information and identification pictures of the common macroinvertebrates in the Clinton River Watershed.

Aquatic Insect Labels: Here you will find two pages of insect labels. Be sure and print them on a laser printer so they don’t bleed when you put them in alcohol.

Wastewater Treatment Plant Protocols: Here you can find the contact information for the watershed wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) and their requirements for testing your samples.










Key initiatives

Student Water Quality Monitoring

Schools and classrooms participating in Stream Leaders Program will complete an outdoor, stream monitoring day twice a year - once in the spring and once in the fall.

Spring Monitoring is from the end of April through May, and Fall Monitoring is throughout the entire month of October. During a stream monitoring day, students complete three different assessments of the stream and water quality.

  • Biological Assessment: students collect, sort and identify the Benthic Macroinvertebrates found in the stream. They learn how to determine water quality of the stream according to the pollution tolerance of the organisms they found in the stream.
  • Chemical Assessment: students conduct a series of chemical tests such as pH, phosphates, nitrates, dissolved oxygen, temperature, turbidity, fecal coliform bacteria and biological oxygen demand. Using this data, the students then assess the chemical health of the stream.
  • Physical Assessment: students observe and measure the physical conditions of the stream including the weather conditions, average stream width, depth, velocity, flow, substrate, habitat types, riparian vegetation and surrounding land use.


CRWC has historically hosted an annual Student Congress in fall as an opportunity for student representatives from schools participating in the Stream Leaders program to share their monitoring results with their peers. Students experience a professional conference atmosphere where they present their water quality findings and attend breakout sessions focused on relevant environmental topics led by environmental and STEM professionals in their community. We hope to host the return of Student Congress in 2023!


The CRWC provides Stream Leaders training to teachers upon request. This may include an introduction to the program, lessons on facilitating a monitoring event, supplemental information for in-classroom lessons, or a water quality related presentation. Bug ID training is offered throughout the year at various times and locations, and teachers and mentors are encouraged to attend. In the fall, the CRWC also facilitates or hosts one professional development opportunity a year at the Annual Student Congress for the teachers participating in the program.


Stream Leaders strives to build partnerships between schools and community organizations through sponsorship and mentors. Civic groups and businesses are invited to participate by sponsoring a Stream Leaders classroom. Sponsorship includes providing financial assistance for equipment, supplies and CRWC’s coordination of the program. Sponsors are also much needed to provide mentor assistance in the field at monitoring events. CRWC provides training to mentors as needed on how to facilitate the Stream Leaders monitoring stations. Bug ID training is offered by CRWC throughout the year at various times and locations and mentors are encouraged to attend.





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