Stream Champions Reach Hundreds

Posted on: June 13th, 2018 by Leslie_Zucker

Hopefully you met a “Catskill Stream Champion” on a hiking trail last year. Catskill Stream Champions are 4-H youth, aged 11-16, who delivered community presentations and reached hundreds through exhibits and direct education about Catskill streams. The program pilot ended this spring.

CSC 4-H Witt

CCE Youth Educator Matthew Helffrich and several Catskill Stream Champions on an educational hike in the Slide Mountain Wilderness Area, 2017.

The Stream Champions completed four educational hikes to learn more about streams and Leave No Trace principles. While on the hikes, they quizzed and interviewed other hikers encountered on trails. Quiz questions tested hikers about their knowledge of Catskills streams. The youth found trail users they encountered to be quite knowledge – correctly answering 63% of quiz questions! One question not everyone got right was “What percent of NYC drinking water comes from Catskill streams?” (the correct answer is about 90-95%).

The Stream Champions themselves learned about streams. An evaluation carried out by Cornell Cooperative Extension educators found the Champions went from 44% right on a test about stream health to 91% right by program end.

CSC Career Panel

The program wrapped up with a career exploration day.

The Catskill Stream Champions project was organized and delivered by 4-H Youth Educators at Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Ulster County. The projects was funded through a grant from the Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program. Grant funding is provided by the NYC Department of Environmental Protection.