The Student Watershed Research Project (SWRP): collecting watershed data for use by resource management agencies

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From 1992 to 1994, Saturday Academy and the Oregon Graduate Institute of Science and Technology instituted the pilot phase of a long-term monitoring program called the Student Watershed Research Project (SWRP). The SWRP program was developed to create and maintain collaboration among eighth through twelfth grade teachers and students, scientists, businesses, governmental agencies, and community members which would couple environmental education with the collection of high quality, reproducible watershed health data.

The original authors of this paper set out to evaluate the impacts of the SWRP program in terms of changes in educational attitudes of participants and collection of accurate data. Findings demonstrate that assuring accuracy of student collected data was challenging, that teachers and students benefited greatly from a hands-on research approach to science education, and that such an approach would be difficult without the support of a program like SWRP.

The SWRP program is entering its seventh year in the Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington metropolitan areas with approximately half of the pilot phase participants still involved. A Quality Assurance Project Plan has been developed to assure data accuracy. Evaluation student science education attitudes documents improved results on a yearly basis.

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