Thursday, April 10th, 2014, 4:30-5:30 Central Time. Getting Your Feet Wet: Place-Based Learning Through Volunteer Water Monitoring. Kris Stepenuck, Water Action Volunteers Stream Monitoring Program Coordinator, University of Wisconsin-Extension and WI Department of Natural Resources. Engaging students to monitor the health of a local stream not only gives them the opportunity to learn scientific methods, but provides a real world experience where they can make observations of what's happening on the land, generate hypotheses about impacts on water quality, and take measurements to determine if there is evidence to support their hypotheses. It also provides an opportunity for them to become engaged in local natural resource issues and share their findings with the community. Volunteer water monitoring programs in which schools can participate exist throughout the Great Lakes Region. This webinar will introduce what volunteer water monitoring entails, provide examples of opportunities to get involved in it in the region, and share some useful tools designed to ease the way for educators to incorporate this type of place-based learning into classrooms, nature centers, and other settings.

Presenter Bio
Kris Stepenuck has coordinated Wisconsin's statewide volunteer stream monitoring program co-sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Extension and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources since 2001. Program volunteers monitor over 500 stream sites across the state for a variety of parameters. Kris is also the Wisconsin representative for the Extension Volunteer Monitoring Network that serves to help volunteer water monitoring programs from across the U.S. share knowledge and resources. She recently completed her PhD, which focused on volunteer water monitoring programs.

Kris preparing to take a water sample


Optional readings:
Example curriculum:

Webinar Recording (contact Claire Shaller,, if you have any problems accessing the webinar)
To view the webinar, click on this link:

Webinar Powerpoint

Water Monitoring Workshops

Web Resources

Aquatic Invertebrate Key (print on 11x17 paper and laminate)

Discussion Question (please respond by Monday, April 21st 2014)
Much of this course so far has centered on connecting children with nature, an important first step in environmental stewardship. A next step is advocating for the environment. After listening to Kris' presentation about monitoring waterways, what are some ways that your students/nature center visitors can serve/have served as advocates for improving what Aldo Leopold called "land health"?