Exploring Our Living Streams

The Exploring Our Living Streams curriculum provides hands-on activities for teaching students about watershed science, and provides educators with the skills and platform to involve youth in citizen science focused on water quality.

There are currently two versions of EOLS. One focuses on Stream Biomonitoring, the second includes material and activities related to both Stream Biomonitoring and Water Chemistry Monitoring. Each version of EOLS has modules about the water environment, pollution, and stream ecology.

The EOLS curriculum is provided to educators (teachers, informal educators, and volunteers) who complete an EOLS workshop. These workshops range from 2-3 days, depending on the version of the curriculum. Through the workshop, participants will learn how to use the curriculum and will be certified as AWW water monitors. Educators who work with the 4-H AWW Program to implement the curriculum can work with staff to certify their students or club members as 4-H AWW monitors, allowing them to collect and submit water data.

To see upcoming EOLS workshop opportunities click here.

More about the curriculum:

  • Helps students learn about the uniqueness of Alabama’s waters, pollution threats to our waters, and how to be a watershed steward
  • Provides an introduction to the aquatic insects of Alabama, and the story they tell about our streams and rivers
  • Gives students “hands-on” experience conducting stream bioassessment and water chemistry monitoring to determine the quality of water in their local stream or waterbody
  • Teaches students to use virtual and real-life water data analysis tools, and gain confidence in communicating scientific ideas to others
  • College and Career Readiness – introduces students to water related careers and provides them with skills and knowledge to help them reach future academic and career goals. Curriculum is correlated to AL Course of Study Science Standards. AWW is a State-Approved Stackable Credential for the Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources Cluster.
EOLS: Stream Biomonitoring
EOLS: Stream Biomonitoring and Water Chemistry

History of Curriculum:

Originally titled Exploring Alabama’s Living Streams, EOLS was developed in 2005 through a partnership between AWW and the Auburn University Department of Curriculum and Teaching. The inspiration for the curriculum came from two long-time AWW volunteers, Dick and Mary Ann Bronson, who had adapted the AWW Stream Biomonitoring in a way that it could be used to educate children in the Lake Martin area where they live.

In 2009, the EPA-funded Global Water Watch-Gulf of Mexico Alliance Project supported development of a supplemental module focused on the Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem, specifically hypoxia in the Gulf, and translation of the entire curriculum into Spanish (Explorando Nuestros Rios Vivientes).

In 2015, 4-H AWW received an Environmental Education Grant from the EPA which funded development of the modules related to water chemistry monitoring principles and practices. It was through this grant that the Citizen Science Database Simulation (link to this: http://www.alabamawaterwatch.org/environmental-ed/educator-dashboard/citizen-science-data-simulation/) was also created.

Thanks to this curriculum and the support of 4-H AWW, increasing numbers of students are engaging in watershed stewardship via citizen science.