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Guest blog post: Stream Explorers Opens Doors

“The door will be open to those who dare to knock.” (Tony Gaskin)

My name is Aroha Walsh, and the Stream Explorers have done a lot of things over the past few months that have inspired me to be a better person.

The Stream Explorers program aims to test the pollution of waterways by observing the micro-animals that live there. Some of the streams tested are those we use for our drinking water.

I first heard of the Stream Explorers after taking a birding course with Maine Audubon. I liked it so much that I wanted to do more with them. With my father’s help, I found the Stream Explorers program. I took the free online training course and went to the field day which allowed us to test a real flow for the first time. That’s when I really started to find my passion for this program.

Workbench Stream Explorers
Maine Audubon’s Sarah Haggerty (left) and Portland Water District’s Carina Brown demonstrate how to use protective netting during a workshop in June. The next workshop will take place on September 17 at the Fields Pond Audubon Center in Holden/Greater Bangor. Info/registration >

There I met Carina Brown of the Portland Water District who trained me on the proper methods to test a stream correctly and efficiently. Once I was confident on how to test the feeds, I contacted the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge in Wells, ME. I met Tessa Houston, an environmental steward, with the help of Tom Wall, the director of visitor services. She and I have been testing streams together for the past two months. I’ve tested three streams with it so far and plan to test at least two more.

I really appreciate the simplicity of the identification process which allows people of all ages to follow the program. I also discovered that through this program I was able to establish new relationships with people. Everyone I’ve met wants to help out of the goodness of their hearts. This program has really helped me set the stage for my future. I now have experience and a new passion for this subject. I also learned to become a better person through this program.

As a middle schooler, most people doubt that you can do most things. However, no one even questioned my age once during my entire time with the Stream Explorers. It really showed me that they believe people of all ages can make a difference. I would recommend this program to anyone interested in marine conservation.

The program is designed so that people of all ages can participate.

During my on-the-job training, I saw so many different people participate. There were young children to the elderly. I find the idea inspiring that even young children want to help in their communities. Kids like me are the next generation and we need to start making a difference. This program helps you learn to become a better leader. You must be able to educate others and take control of the planning.

I learned to better plan and manage my time, so I don’t spend an entire day on one stream. I intend to stay with this program as long as I can and recruit more volunteers so that this program does not have to die. I also plan to continue testing streams around me to help my community and help others see if Stream Explorers is right for them. It’s up to us to protect our streams.

We need your help to open the next set of doors.

Ari Walsh, St.
Aroha Walsh – First Class BSA Scout

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