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WRRI, DEQ, and Partners Announce NC Stream Watch Educator Cohort

A new education program by NC Stream Watch offers information on water resource management, as well as a North Carolina science standards-aligned curriculum for teaching about water quality, quantity and the importance of conservation.


CONTACT: Christy Perrin,

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) Division of Water Resources announces an exciting new chapter for the NC Stream Watch education program. The new effort, which includes an inaugural class of Stream Watch educators, is in partnership with the North Carolina Water Resources Research Institute (WRRI), North Carolina Sea Grant and the nonprofit Environmental Educators of North Carolina (EENC).

The class is the first in a new education-oriented program by NC Stream Watch, a program that began in 1989 to increase public awareness of water resource management and support volunteers. The 2024 cohort consists of 10 formal and informal educators, representing 10 cities across North Carolina and various grade levels from kindergarten through eighth grade.

“There’s no better way to learn about the value of water than by engaging directly with it,” said Lauren Daniel, coordinator for NC Stream Watch and water education program coordinator for DEQ’s Division of Water Resources. “We hope the place-based activities we’ve designed will make the learning process directly relevant and more meaningful for teachers and their students, and will increase their understanding of water resources, the hydrosphere and ecosystems.”

In the six-month program, cohort members will attend monthly webinars that bolster their understanding of water resource management. They will also be provided with a North Carolina science standards-aligned curriculum for teaching about water quality, quantity and the importance of conservation.

They will also become familiar with the NC Stream Watch online mapping tool, which can be used to help students understand stream health.

“Each of the lessons we’ve developed can be taught in the classroom, outside, or stream-side,” said Michelle Pearce, the programming lead for EENC. “Each educator in our cohort will receive a printed curriculum guide, as well as materials for their students to conduct their own hands-on investigations in a creek or water body near their school.”

As part of their participation, cohort members will provide feedback on the alignment of the K-8 Stream Watch lesson plans to the new state science standards. Participants will also be encouraged to use their training and experiences as credit for the NC Environmental Education Certification program, which is managed by the DEQ Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs.

NC Stream Watch began in 1989 as a free, self-guided educational program with three key goals: to encourage volunteer groups to adopt streams to protect; increase public awareness of and involvement in water resources management; and promote cooperative activities among volunteer groups.

“For over 30 years, NC Stream Watch has sought to educate community members of all ages about the value of the water around them,” said Christy Perrin, WRRI and NC Sea Grant sustainable waters and communities coordinator. “We hope the addition of the educator cohort will give teachers the confidence and understanding to cultivate the next generation of water stewards.”

Read the original press release by the Department of Environmental Quality.