WATERSHED STEWARDS ACADEMY
Our mission: to develop citizen leaders to foster community change for clean waters.
Watershed Stewards Academy builds capacity in Anne Arundel County by training Master Watershed Stewards to help neighbors reduce pollution in our local creeks and rivers. Our hands on certification course gives Stewards the tools to implement change in their communities, turning knowledge into action. Stewards work with their communities to install projects such as rain gardens or conservation landscapes and to reduce pollution at its source. Collectively, these small community based actions are improving the health of the larger Chesapeake Bay watershed.
WHAT WE'VE ACHIEVED
Since 2009, WSA has certified over 200 Master Watershed Stewards from Brooklyn Park to Herring Bay. Each year, these Stewards collaborate with neighbors, businesses, schools and each other to install HUNDREDS of projects that reduce pollution in our rivers and streams. In 2017, Stewards collectively:
Planted over 7,100 native trees and plants
Removed 263,300 square feet of invasive plants
Installed nearly 100 projects ranging from rain barrels to stream restoration covering an area of nearly 897,000 square feet
Provided over 8,000 Anne Arundel County residents with environmental education and technical assistance
Uniquely structured to empower communities to take actions to improve local waterways, WSA is:
A Laboratory of Innovation
Our curriculum has been developed in partnership with the Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center of the Anne Arundel County Public Schools. Steward candidates learn the hard sciences of stormwater management, proper plant selection, site assessment, and more. They are also trained in social science so they can skillfully communicate and engage their communities. We are constantly innovating to update our curriculum as we reach out to new segments of the population and stay in step with the latest thinking in watershed restoration.
A Hub of Connections
WSA serves as the hub where anyone interested in working on water protection in Anne Arundel County can come together. First-time volunteers connect with their local Stewards. Our Consortium of technical experts support the Stewards and actively share best practices. Our annual conference brings together the whole network, as do frequent informal gatherings. In many ways throughout the year, we provide the place to plug in.
A Strong Partnership
Born in 2008 as a partnership of the County’s Public Schools and Department of Public Works, WSA today is a true public-private partnership. Our focus is on the two-thirds of property in the County that is privately-owned. We are organized as a non-profit 501(c)(3), raising private sector resources while continuing to work in partnership with the County to bring about better public understanding of our individual responsibilities to help manage stormwater runoff.
The Anne Arundel County Watershed Stewards Academy (WSA) was created out of a partnership between Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center and the Anne Arundel County Department of Public Works to build capacity of Anne Arundel County neighborhood residents to reduce pollutants entering local waterways via stormwater. WSA was built on the idea of the Master Gardener Program, training individuals who then volunteer in their communities, giving lectures, conducting outreach, and organizing projects.
Click HERE to learn more about WSA's history