Educating future caretakers of our water resources.

Young Water Stewards is a free, outdoor-focused program for high school students in rural Whatcom County to help our future leaders develop an understanding of — and appreciation for — the importance of clean water. Through a science-based approach of hands-on learning and stewardship activities, students gain experience with water quality testing and analysis, Best Management Practices, and mitigation techniques to develop and apply valuable skills for protecting the health of our drinking water, creeks, lakes, and beaches. The program can be tailored to any class schedule. Read the press release.

"The program exceeded my expectations for student learning outcomes. This was an absolute delight. The students were able to directly connect the place they live and the actions within their community to the health and sustainability of our local streams, and could see how they connect to the larger ecology of the area as well as benefits to people in this area of having clean water."  — Jennifer Wright, Science Department, Blaine High School

Program Outline

The program includes anywhere from three to five class periods, depending on each teacher's objectives and class schedule: three in-class lessons, one or two field trips to tour your local watershed and perform water quality sampling, and a stewardship project.

The curriculum answers the following questions:

  • Pre-lesson (teacher led): What is a watershed? 

  • Part 1 (in class): What are the barriers to clean water? 

  • Part 2 (field experience): What are the components of your local watershed? 

  • Part 3 (field experience): How do you investigate your local water quality? 

  • Part 4 (field experience): What are indicator species for water quality? 

  • Part 5 (in class): What does our data tell us and what are the Best Management Practices? 

  • Part 6 (field experience): What are stewardship actions you take the improve the health of your watershed?

Check out our Sustainable Schools Blog to read more about our fall 2018 classes with Blaine and Meridian High Schools, our fall 2017 classes with Blaine High School, Nooksack Valley Middle School, and Nooksack Valley High School and our spring classes with Blaine High School

By the end of the program, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate new knowledge developed about their local watershed by identifying its components and local sources of pollution.
  • Articulate how land-use practices impact the health of the watershed.
  • Understand the importance of individual and community stewardship actions that help keep our watersheds healthy.

Read about participating schools
Connecting orca survival to our home watersheds
By Natalie Lord, Education Specialist

Students got outside to explore how water quality in the watershed they live in affects the health of salmon and the endangered orcas who eat them.

by Andrea Reiter, Education Specialist, Sustainable Schools 

Read about some Young Water Stewards work in 2017. Students installed a dog bag dispenser station at the entrance to their soccer field to encourage pet-owners to pick up dog poop, tested water quality in their local waterways, and took an 8-week elective class about land use.

21st Century Kids Take On a 21st Century Problem: Non-Point Source Pollution 
by Andrea Reiter, Education Specialist, Sustainable Schools 

Do you know what non-point source pollution is? How about the effects of non-point source pollution has on water quality ...

Blaine High School students study their local watershed, tour salmon stream as part of Young Water Stewards

The Sustainable Schools and Clean Water programs at RE Sources for Sustainable Communities joined forces in 2016 to launch Young Water Stewards for high school students in rural Whatcom County ...

Get involved

For more information, please contact

We are recruiting volunteers to support the Young Water Stewards program. Contact us today if you would like to be a chaperon or volunteer. 

Teacher resources

Interested in signing up? View the curriculum, pre- and post-surveys, student worksheets, and student research guide by clicking the links below.

The Water Stewards program is funded by a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) and their National Ocean Service Education Program. Read more.