Lawrence, MA

Merrimack River Watershed Council

WATERSHED: Merrimack River Watershed

Education and Action in the Merrimack River Watershed

The Merrimack River Watershed Council (MRWC), a non-profit organization formed in 1976, works to restore and protect the Merrimack River Watershed through education, recreation, advocacy, and science. In 2012, the MRWC partnered with the Northern Middlesex Council of Governments to develop a stormwater education program, with emphasis on low-income non-English speaking communities. Also developed are resources for municipalities interested in creating their own stormwater education program, including a How-To Manual and Train the Trainer Guide.

More recently, MRWC is creating a curricular guide for a middle school educational program called SciManities, in which MRWC staff and interns from local universities worked with faculty and students at the River Valley Charter School, in Newburyport, Massachusetts.  Students develop their own field projects, and, with the help of faculty and community experts, create by the end of the year-long program a set of deliverables that are presented at a community event.  Recent projects included painting storm drains, drafting a watershed pledge to be signed by members of the community, implementing a food scrap recycling program at the school, building a rain garden, and creating short videos celebrating the river.  The final MRWC product will be a guide for teachers at other schools interested in implementing a similar river studies program that integrates scientific inquiry and humanistic curiosity.