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Youth Stream Team

The purpose of this project is to link on-going watershed monitoring and research efforts with the educational needs of at-risk youth by forming school-based Youth Stream Teams. Experiential learning environments are provided where youth interact with peers, university students, and community adults in an outdoor classroom, using hands-on learning strategies, encouraging an emotional connection to the complexities of protecting ecosystem function and achieving resource management goals. Students gain an understanding of watershed ecology, and the skills and interest to participate in resource management decisions. This project has been funded by grants from the Stewardship Council.

Youth Stream Teams are formed from Middle/High, and Juvenile Court schools throughout Butte County. Teams participate in watershed assessments, restoration plantings, natural history hikes, public presentations, and surveys. Teams meet individually, and as an all-school group throughout the year. Meetings take place in an outdoor setting, and include pre/post classroom activities maintaining links to classroom content.

Four Winds Stream Team Members

Specific Activities

Water Quality Assessment Training (2 sites within separate habitat types including mountain/foothill (rural), and valley (urban)). Instruction is provided on the proper use of equipment and common protocols used to assess stream health.

Above: Measuring Water Depth

Restoration Planting and Pre-Post Project Assessment Training (2 project sites: stream bank stabilization project, and an upland flood plain excavation project). Instruction provides overview of common restoration practices and site-specific planting techniques including pre-post monitoring methods.

Natural History Hike (Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve, pristine foothill habitat). Instruction provides an overview of the ecology, and cultural relevance of the Big Chico Creek Watershed.

Storm Drain Marking (1 or more events within the Chico urban area). Event schedules, training, urban pollution prevention tips, and supplies are provided.

Public Presentations (2 events including a Watershed Festival and the Endangered Species Faire). Youth highlight their efforts and present survey findings. Other community education organizations and CUSD teachers are invited to these events to encourage educators to collaborate with each other to integrate outdoor learning into their academic schedules. Outdoor learning activity schedules are provided.