Delco Invites Residents to Be ‘Master Stewards’ of Vital Watersheds


Volunteers plant trees to protect the Darby Creek watershed in Kent Park in Upper Darby.

Delaware County residents are invited to join a Master Watershed Steward program to learn how to maintain and improve water quality throughout the county and the Commonwealth.

Delaware County Council, the Delaware County Conservation District, and Penn State Extension are partnering to bring the Master Watershed Steward program to Delco in January 2017. Applications for the program are being accepted through Nov. 1, 2016.

No matter where people live, everyone is a part of many different watersheds, and maintaining the quality and quantity of that water is critical to the environment. Each stream, pond, lake, and groundwater aquifer has a watershed that captures and delivers water to it.

The Penn State Master Watershed Steward program was established to strengthen local capacity for management and protection of watersheds, streams, and rivers by developing a dedicated volunteer team of Watershed Stewards across the Commonwealth.

The steward program provides interested individuals with extensive training in watershed management. In return, participants dedicate volunteer time to environmental education and conservation projects in their local communities.

The Penn State Delaware County Master Watershed Stewards training program is currently accepting applications for the Class of 2017, which begins the week of Jan. 22.

Master Watershed Steward apprentice activities may include organizing tree plantings and stream clean-ups, installing storm water management practices, sharing information at community events, developing awareness campaigns, expanding social media presence, creating publications, and partnering with organizations and municipalities to promote watershed conservation and restoration.

At the completion of this volunteer service, trainees receive the official Master Watershed Steward certification. Applicants need not be experts in conservation or water resources, but should have an interest in the environment, willingness to learn, and a desire to make a difference. There is a small, one-time registration fee (to cover material costs) to those accepted into the program.

Training sessions will be held at Penn State Brandywine Campus in Middletown beginning the week of Jan. 22, 2017 and ending before April 16, 2017. One weeknight class per week will be held (from 6-9 PM) over the 12-week period. A listing of specific class dates will be available Dec. 2016. Class size is limited to 25.

The training program covers both basic and advanced watershed topics. Upon completion of all classes, Master Watershed Steward candidates must pass an exam. Within the first year after classroom study, apprentices are required to volunteer 50 hours in the community.

To apply for the steward program, e-mail Elizabeth Alakszay at with the subject line “2017 Master Watershed Training.”

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