If so, this section
will give you some tips and ideas. Before trying to organize
a group, be organized yourself. Become familiar with this
manual so that you can readily explain the program to others.
Take your pitch for the Adopt-A-Stream program to an existing
community group first. Many areas have natural history clubs,
or community service groups that are looking for worthwhile
projects. Environmental projects are increasingly popular
as people become more aware of the problems facing our natural
world. If these groups are not interested, they will probably
give you advice about who else in the community might be.
Look for ways of working with other local groups. Maybe schools
can help you find the history of the watercourse; a local
industry will contribute materials. The seniors' club may
provide you with valuable information and insight on what
the area was once like. Be creative and involve as many people
If you are a teacher who is thinking about using this program,
this section will give you some further information. By choosing
to become involved in Adopt-A-Stream you will join other teachers
who are doing practical, outdoor projects to help the environment
while teaching about it.
Teachers will probably use different groups of children over
a specific period of time. The Adopt-A-Stream program fits
very well into Junior and Senior High curricula covering such
areas as local and provincial history, as well as ecology
and biology. Senior elementary students may be used for some
aspects of the work, such as clean-ups and releasing of small
As well as relating to different curricula, the program provides
a valuable outdoor and environmental experience. The combination
of class work, outdoor research, and the rehabilitation of
a watercourse can be powerful tools for creating environmental
citizenship in your students while they learn the basics of
biology and ecology and develop research skills. Your school
may adopt the watercourse you choose over a time so that different
students become involved in the work from year-to-year.
Here are some important things to consider in trying to motivate
your students or other teachers.
- Children will be more involved in the "adoption" process
if the watercourse has some personal, everyday meaning and
relevance to them. For example, an easily accessible watercourse
near your school would be a good choice. Perhaps this watercourse
has some local historical significance. Choosing something
that children "already know" enhances the stewardship process.
- Think seriously about getting parents and other interested
community members involved. A joint project takes some responsibility
off your shoulders. Local service or naturalist clubs are
a good starting point.
- Keep in mind that this program is not just a classroom exercise.
Your students will be involved in fieldwork regularly. (Make
sure you can get transportation to and from the fieldwork
area; in these days of budget constraints, picking an area
close by is advisable.)
- Don't worry about how much personal experience you have
with ecology and biology or fieldwork. This manual has been
designed to take you through all the necessary steps.
- This program can be linked to other curriculum and environmental
programs as supplementary material. The Adopt-A-Stream program
can be used with the Aquatic module of the Project Wild program,
and with Fish Friends, a project of the Atlantic Salmon Federation.
If you are an adult leader of a youth group (Boy Scouts, Girl
Guides, 4-H) see how the Adopt-A-Stream program can fit into
your "badge" programs and investigate the possibility of coordination
and cooperation with other youth groups in the area.