The Brandywine River flows between tree lined banks in the city of Wilmington, DE. An arched bridge spans the river in the background. City buildings rise behind the trees.
The Brandywine in Wilmington © TNC

Stories in Delaware

About Delaware's Stream Stewards Program

Become a Stream Steward and help protect Wilmington’s drinking water supply.

Stream stewards logo. Three round icons depicting blue waves, an orange fish and a green leaf above three partner logos.
Stream Stewards Citizen science program in Delaware.

About The Stream Stewards Program

Stream Stewards is a Citizen Science program designed to engage people of all ages and backgrounds in watershed stewardship. Originally launched in 2016, Stream Stewards trains volunteers to engage with the scientific process by collecting water quality data from the streams that flow through First State National Historical Park (FRST) to Brandywine Creek.

The streams in the park that feed Brandywine Creek provide an ideal learning environment for volunteers of all ages to gain an understanding of stream ecology and the importance of watershed protection. By engaging in water quality data collection, Stream Stewards contribute to science-based management actions that will have a real conservation impact in the park.

Adult participants are trained on monitoring the water quality of streams within the Beaver Valley unit at FRST. A curriculum is being developed for high school students and their families to become engaged in water quality monitoring near their schools and homes. All participants will learn about stewardship opportunities for improving the health of their watersheds and be provided opportunities to contribute to conservation efforts in their communities.

Citizen Scientists

Who Are the Stream Stewards? Meet some of our citizen scientists.

Brandywine Creek supplies 100% of the drinking water for Wilmington residents. When water runs off of surfaces with low permeability like paved roads, it carries contaminants that enter the streams that feed into Brandywine Creek. This run-off degrades the water quality and threatens this important resource, lowering its habitat value for wildlife, and making it unsafe for activities such as fishing and swimming.

Through a partnership between The Nature Conservancy, National Park Service and Stroud Water Research Center, and funding from the William Penn Foundation and the Ernest E. Stempel Foundation, the Stream Stewards program is engaging citizen scientist volunteers in data collection that will help to address these water quality issues.

Planting at First State National Historical Park

Staff from First State National Historical Park, Stroud Water Research Center and TNC, along with several Stream Stewards volunteers, planted more than 250 native shrubs and trees in April 2021, creating buffers to help contribute to cleaner water in Ramsey Run. This project was made possible thanks to support from the William Penn Foundation.

A woman wearing a face mask and an orange safety vest kneels on the ground holding a small plant with long roots, ready to be planted in the ground.
A woman wearing a black face mask uses a long handled shovel to dig a hole for a tree sapling in an open park during a volunteer work day.
A woman wearing a pink face mask and an orange reflective safety vest poses holding the handles of an orange wheelbarrow. A black container holding a dozen small tree saplings rest in the barrow.
A dozen short plastic tubes mark the spots where tree saplings have been planted along a curving urban stream. Six tall mature trees lines the stream bank.
A man wearing a green park rangers uniform poses during a workday at a state park. In the background, two people kneel on the ground planting native plants along an urban stream.

Stream Stewards Featured in WHYY's Stories from the Streams

Stories from the Streams introduces us to a team of scientists who are working tirelessly to maintain the health of the Delaware River Watershed. 

Stories from the Streams: Techno Geeks With the help of new technology, “citizen scientists” can monitor the health of local streams. our waterways safe.

The health of our waters is the principal measure of how we live on the land.

Two women crouch next to each other in a forest taking samples from water collected in a small blue basin.
Citizen Science Two Stream Stewards citizen scientists on a site visit to their stream monitoring location in First State National Historical Park. © Kim Hachadoorian/TNC

Stream Steward Program Requirements

You must be at least 18 years old to apply to be a Stream Steward and be willing to participate in at least four half-day training sessions that will take place in First State National Historical Park.

After completing the training, Stream Stewards must complete at least 20 hours of service, which can include collecting water quality data at monitoring sites, participating in stewardship projects such as plantings and invasive species removal, and assisting with our bi-annual watershed clean-up events or other outreach and education opportunities

Stream Stewards Will:

  • Learn about watershed ecology
  • Be trained in water quality monitoring and data collection techniques
  • Connect with nature in First State National Historical Park
  • Contribute to conservation and natural resource management
  • Become Citizen Scientists
  • Join a diverse community of volunteers and stewardship leaders

Become a Stream Steward

For more information about becoming a Stream Steward, contact Stream Steward Project Manager Kim Hachadoorian at

Alliance for Watershed Education of the Delaware River logo. A green leaf inside a blue water droplet outline.
Alliance for Watershed Education Stream Stewards Partner

The Alliance for Watershed Education of the Delaware River is comprised of 23 environmental education centers in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. The 23 education centers in the Alliance share a mission to collectively increase and enhance constituent appreciation, knowledge, and stewardship of the Delaware River watershed.

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