Penn State Extension is now accepting applications for the first Master Watershed Steward Program in Cameron, Elk, Potter and McKean counties.
Established to strengthen local capacity for protecting watersheds by educating and empowering volunteers across the commonwealth, the program is now represented by over 500 participants in 24 Pennsylvania counties. Master Watershed Stewards have collectively contributed over 50,000 volunteer hours improving Pennsylvania watersheds.
The program provides participants with extensive training in environmental science, followed by ongoing volunteer and educational opportunities that allow participants to make a difference in their communities. We are seeking individuals who enjoy learning, have the desire and time to volunteer, and appreciate working with others.
Master Watershed Stewards receive 40 hours of training on topics including water quality, stream health, stormwater management, native plants, wildlife and geology. After completing the training session, stewards fulfill 50 hours of volunteer service.
In subsequent years, Master Watershed Stewards can maintain their status through 20 hours of volunteer time to watershed projects or programs and attending a minimum of 10 hours of advanced training.
Examples of projects and programs include designing and installing demonstration rain gardens or streamside plantings, teaching children about stream ecology, and organizing educational workshops that address such topics as backyard conservation or homeowner stormwater management.
Master Watershed Steward training classes will take place 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Wednesdays, beginning March 3. Classes will be offered remotely with optional in-person field trips at partnering environmental organizations, pending COVID-19 restrictions. The training program will conclude in June.
The fee for the training program is $125. Scholarships are available based on financial need.
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