Stories in Delaware

Delaware's Stream Stewards Program

Discover how you can become a Stream Steward and help protect Wilmington’s drinking water supply.

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

About The Stream Stewards Program

Stream Stewards is a community 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.

Stream Stewards Video Series

Stream Stewards is a community science program designed to engage people of all ages and backgrounds in watershed stewardship. We’ve created a four-part video series consisting of a program overview, and a look at the three main components of Stream Stewards: youth engagement, community science, and public outreach and education.

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.

The streams in First State National Historical 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 learn about stewardship opportunities for improving the health of their watersheds and are provided opportunities to contribute to conservation efforts in their communities.

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

Community Scientists

Who Are the Stream Stewards? Meet some of our community 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 community scientist volunteers in data collection that will help to address these water quality issues.

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

Two Stream Stewards community scientists on a site visit to their stream monitoring location in First State National Historical Park.

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 Community 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 kim.hachadoorian@tnc.org

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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