Guest blog post: Stream Explorers Opens Doors

“The door will be opened to those who are bold enough to knock.” (Tony Gaskins)

My name is Aroha Walsh, and the Stream Explorers has done many things in the past few months that inspire me to be a better person.

The Stream Explorers program aims to test the pollution in streams by looking at the micro animals living in them. Some of the streams being tested are ones that we use for our drinking water.

I first heard about the Stream Explorers after I did a bird watching course with Maine Audubon. I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to do more with them. With the help from my father, I found the program Stream Explorers. I took the free online training course and went to the field day that gave us a chance to test a real stream for the first time. This is when I really started to find my passion for this program.

Stream Explorers Workshop
Maine Audubon’s Sarah Haggerty (left) and Portland Water District’s Carina Brown demonstrate how to use kick nets at a June workshop. The next workshop is Sept. 17 at Fields Pond Audubon Center in Holden/Greater Bangor. Info/register >

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

I really enjoy the simplicity of the identification process which allows people of all ages to do the program. I also found that through this program I got to make new connections with people. All of the people I have met want to help out of the kindness of their hearts. This program has really helped to set the stage for my future. I now have experience and a newfound passion for this topic. I have also learned how to be a better person through this program.

As a middle schooler, most people doubt that you are capable of doing most things. However, no one has even questioned my age once during my whole time with the Stream Explorers. This has really shown me that they think people of all ages can make a difference. I would recommend this program to anyone interested in marine conservation.

Aroha Walsh and Tessa Houston of the Maine Conservation Corps collect samples in Kennebunk in June. Photo by Shawn Sullivan, York County Coast Star/

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

While at my field day training, I saw so many different people participating. There were young children all the way up to senior citizens. I find the idea inspiring that even young children want to help in their communities. Children like me are the next generation and we need to start making a difference. This program helps you to learn how to be a better leader. You must be able to educate others and take control of the planning.

I have learned to schedule better and how to manage my time, so that we don’t spend a whole day at a single stream. I plan to stay with this program as long as I can and to get more volunteers to join so that this program does not have to go away. I also plan to keep testing the streams around me to help my community and to help others see if Stream Explorers is right for them. It is up to us to keep our streams safe.

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

Ari Walsh, St
Aroha Walsh – First Class BSA Scout