WSA’s 11th Master Watershed Steward Certification Course began on Saturday, October 27th. The 30 Steward Candidates of Class 11, representing 7 watersheds in Anne Arundel County, have made it through the most meeting-intensive period of the course, covering 3 Sessions in just two weeks! Go Class 11!
Here’s a breakdown of what they covered in their first 3 Sessions:
Session 1: Stormwater Tour of Annapolis
Main Location: St. Luke’s / Time: 9 AM - 4 PM
Class 11’s first session was held at St. Luke’s. Steward Candidates got to see the magic happen on a rainy Saturday, as they visited 5 sites in Annapolis: near the Timber Creek neighborhood, they saw a badly degraded stream; at Mt. Olive, they saw RiverWise congregations projects, including Conservation Landscapes, Rain Gardens, and Pervious Pavers; at the neighborhood of Cedar Ridge, they saw several newly installed projects from Spring 2018, including a Pollinator Garden, a Green Alley, and a Bioretention Area; in the neighborhood of Hillsmere, they saw Community Rain Gardens and Bioretention Practices; and at St. Luke’s they walked the Restoration of Nature and learned about the congregation’s Regenerative Stormwater Conveyance. The cold and the rain didn’t dampen any spirits! Instead, all the water that day was a tremendous gift, since it meant that Class 11 got to see projects in action, doing exactly what they’re designed to do! Along the way, Class 11 connected with many Master Watershed Stewards, including Betsy Love, Elvia Thompson, Jack Turner, Jan Atwood, Kevin Green, and Rick Kissel. In the afternoon, Stewards got to hear presentations by Erik Michelson (WPRP) and Jackie Guild (City of Annapolis). The day ended with Environmental Literacy Stewards connecting with WSA ELit Consultant and Class 10 Master Watershed Steward Bob Keddell, and South County Stewards connecting with Class 1 Master Watershed Steward Kevin Green.
A Steward’s response to Session 1: “WSA has wildly exceeded my expectations! I learned a TON of great, useful information from Saturday’s class. I think you guys have done a wonderful job putting this program together and I’m super excited for what’s to come.”
Session 2: GIS / Capstone Project Overview
Location: Arlington Echo / Time: 6 PM - 9 PM
The Class 11 Stewards divided into two groups and rotated through presentations on GIS and the Capstone Project process. While one group learned how to use GIS with Master Watershed Steward Lara Mulvaney and WSA’s Restoration Coordinator Zoe Clarkwest, the other group received an overview of the capstone project process for Rainscaping and Environmental Literacy Tracks in an interactive presentation featuring Suzanne Etgen and Class 10 Environmental Literacy Steward Denise Peach. At the end of the evening, Noelle Chao, WSA’s Program Coordinator, showed the Class 11 Stewards how to access their personal Google Drive Folders for the course. These folders are replacing Basecamp, and will be a powerful tool going forward for documenting and preserving a Master Watershed Steward’s outreach and action on behalf of WSA.
A Steward’s feedback on Session 2: “I enjoyed the GIS class, it looks like a great tool.”
Session 3: Neighborhood Source Assessment / Residential Site Assessment
Location: Glen Isle, a 2018-19 Clean Water Community / Time: 10 AM - 6:30 PM
For their second field session--and third class in two weeks!--our intrepid Class 11 Stewards met in the Riva community of Glen Isle on the South River to learn about two kinds of site assessments: NSAs and RSAs. Unlike Class 10, which had their NSA Session in November 2018 and their RSA Session in March 2019, Class 11 had theirs combined into one long mega session. It was a long day, but everyone pulled through and did a great job!
After Suzanne delivered a presentation highlighting the ins and outs of the NSA, Class 11 Stewards split into two groups and walked small portions of Glen Isle’s neighborhood, in order to determine pollution sources. Then, they discussed possible behavior changes and rainscaping practices that residents could adopt going forward. After a yummy lunch--sandwiches from Giolitti’s in Annapolis and homemade soups by Suzanne--students went back out in the field to learn how to perform a residential site assessment. They also learned about soils, perc tests, and Miss Utility. Class 11 braved frigid, windy conditions to perform a site assessment for their homework, and came back in from the cold to enjoy cocktail hour snacks and drinks, while listening to Bob Keddell share about some of his recent ELit endeavors at Maryland Hall, in partnership with The Center of Help in Annapolis. The evening ended with Stewards exploring connections, and sharing personal stories about their connections to water and the natural world.
WSA is incredibly grateful to Class 3 Master Watershed Steward and WSA Board Member Michael Wagener for hosting Class 11 in the Glen Isle Clubhouse, pampering Stewards with Keurig coffee pods, and sharing his experiences leading outreach in his neighborhood for WSA’s Clean Water Communities Program.
Steward feedback on Session 3:
“Yesterday was great . . . I learned a lot, and enjoyed myself. And there was no rain!”
“Such a great day, today! Please thank the team on my behalf.”