Growing Trees and Family Traditions in Madison County

When Paul Goodall walks his farm, he has a lot to remember. As he crosses the hilly pastures, Paul remembers to check his water troughs for overflow, inspect his cattle fence, and monitor the growth of a stand of newly planted trees. On a 600 acre farm, something...

Planting and paddling toward a cleaner river

How do you write about a feeling? It's the feeling you get when a well-scripted plan meets a group of hard-working volunteers; when work meets play meets growth; when education meets restoration meets recreation in a symphony of dirty hands, elbow grease, and...

Headwaters Stream Initiative Spring Preview

At Friends of the Rappahannock, we like to say that restoring a watershed is like cleaning a car. To do it right, you have to start at the top and work your way down. At the top of our watershed is the “headwaters” of the Rappahannock River system, which starts in the...

The Name of the Game is Maintenance

The restoration of the Rappahannock River watershed and Chesapeake Bay requires a wide range of infrastructure and restoration projects designed to reduce pollutants like nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediments from entering our local waterways. These projects are often...

Friends of the Rappahannock’s Student Stream Team program began in 2007 as a partnership between Stafford County schools and several local soil and water conservation districts. FOR has a long history of implementing successful education programs as well as restoration projects and this great program brings them together to maximize impacts and results.

We work with high school students from across the 18 counties of the Rappahannock River watershed to provide high quality environmental education both in the classroom and in the field. This program introduces students to watershed science, the Rappahannock River watershed, the Chesapeake Bay watershed, stressors to the environment, total maximum daily loads (TMDL), and a variety of practices and solutions that are used to protect and restore our natural resources.

The Student Stream Team (SST) program includes two in class presentations by FOR educators and our partners at the Soil and Water Conservation Districts to provide information to students and engage them in several STEM based activities derived from ProjectWET and field inquiry and assessment activities.

In addition to visiting the students in their classroom, we invite students to our classroom or a nearby stream. Our classroom is a 12 acre nature preserve in perpetual conservation easement located right on the Rappahannock River in Fredericksburg, Virginia.  Here our education staff works with students outside on a variety of STEM based activities including sampling for benthic macroinvertebrates, plant identification, chemical water quality testing, stream surveying, data collection and analysis, and other measurements using probeware.

Photo by Paula Combs, Piedmont Environmental Council

After students have completed all of there classroom based activities, FOR and our partners at the Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Virginia Department of Forestry, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and more work together to engage the students in an on the ground restoration project. These projects include:

  • Riparian Buffer Restoration
  • Water Quality Monitoring
  • Stream Surveying
  • Streambank Stabilization
  • Native Plant and Pollinator Gardens
  • Living Shoreline Planting
  • Oyster Reef Restoration
  • Floating Treatment Wetland Construction
  • Rain Garden Construction, and more

All projects are designed to have a measurable impact on water quality and the health of the Rappahannock River and Chesapeake Bay. Any project installation must be within the boundaries of the Rappahannock River watershed unless 100% of the funding is provided by the school or student group.

FOR is currently working with over 20 schools in the  install projects across the watershed.

This program is available to all high schools that are located in or serve students in the Rappahannock River watershed.  All projects occur in the Rappahannock River watershed.

For additional information about this program please contact FOR Programs Manager Bryan Hofmann at, 540-373-3448 x112.

This program is made possible through funding provided by the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Virginia Environmental Endowment, Chesapeake Bay Trust, Virginia Department of Forestry, and Patagonia.

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