Hundreds of people, including Stroud™ educator, Christina Medved, embarked on a seven-day, 112-mile canoe trip down the Schuylkill River — from Schuylkill Haven to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — in June. The 10th annual Schuylkill Sojourn, organized by the Schuylkill River Greenway Association, was intended to deepen the appreciation for the Schuylkill River, a river steeped in history, by those who rely on it for everything from recreation to their drinking water.
Few river basins have had a longer or stronger connection to socioeconomic, cultural, and industrial development in the United States than the Schuylkill, whose land and water have provided many of the resources needed over the 350-year history of colonial, industrial, and even modern Philadelphia.
Today, the Basin bears little resemblance to the pristine woods the first Europeans found. However, it is still an invaluable natural resource for the 3 million people who live in the watershed as well as the additional 3 million people from neighboring watersheds who together make up the Philadelphia metropolitan area.
Medved not only paddled the length of the river — but with fellow Stroud educators, Kristen Travers and Vivian Williams, she also educated the Sojourn participants about the Schuylkill’s water quality and the Center’s 12-year+ research on the river and its tributaries.
The trio of educators showed sojourners how to conduct chemical tests of water quality on the river at every lunch and overnight stop along the route. Parameters tested included air and water temperature, transparency, pH, conductivity, and dissolved oxygen and nitrate levels in the water. The data was documented and posted throughout the trip.
“It was especially gratifying to see the paddlers express genuine interest in the results of our water quality testing,” said Medved. “They clearly wanted to become more educated about the quality of the water on which they were paddling. They constantly checked our posted results and asked fantastic questions. We’re already planning to conduct more extensive tests on next year’s Sojourn.”
For information about the Stroud Water Research Center’s studies on the Schuylkill and its tributaries go to: http://www.stroudcenter.org/schuylkill/intro.htm
Just what’s under the Schuylkill? Check out our slide show of some of its smallest, but most important inhabitants—the macroinvertebrates that call the Schuylkill home:
As part of our ongoing watershed education programs, students, teachers and community groups perform water quality testing using our Leaf Pack Experiment kits. To see Leaf Pack Network® data on the Schuylkill go to:
To see more pictures of the Schuylkill Sojourn, please visit Cody Goddard's
photo gallery at:
Back to Summer 2008 Upstream Newsletter