The CFS is committed to clarifying the complex implications of urban and exurban expansion across the rural landscape and providing useful information to managers, policy makers and the public. We have engaged these stakeholders through a variety of venues including invited talks, plenary sessions, and formal conferences.

Urban-Rural Interfaces Linking People and Nature

CFS sends student Adam Kelly to symposium

Check out our Photo Gallery

The Auburn University Stream Team:

Preparing the Next Generation of Water Scientists

Program Guidelines and Application Information



The Auburn University Center for Forest Sustainability (CFS), with funding from the Auburn University Outreach Scholarship Program, and participation with collaborating departments and centers has created the 'Auburn University Stream Team' (AUST), a group of faculty and experts interested in high school student outreach.  With this program, we seek to engage high school students interested in possible careers in natural resources, the environment, or the outdoors.  We will select student teams based on their application to participate in a 9-month program that will introduce them to water resource careers, student experience at Auburn University, collecting meaningful stream data, and experience presenting their results to the public and their peers.  We expect to select six high school teams (2-3 students per school including a teacher sponsor) to attend a water symposium at Auburn University in July 2014. High school students (accompanied by parents and teacher) will meet AUST members along with other faculty and professionals working in water-related fields. Students will learn about urban streams and get trained to monitor their own stream using Alabama Water Watch (AWW) test kits and protocol.  With the help of AUST, students will monitor a local stream and apply what they learned. We will reconvene for a second symposium for students to present their stream monitoring results and efforts to disseminate information to the public (guidance will be provided). Each student of the best judged team presentation will be awarded with a $500 college scholarship.

Description of the Program:

Auburn University is fortunate to have a group of highly qualified expert aquatic scientists, faculty, and practitioners with extensive knowledge about streams and rivers. Many of these experts (henceforth referred to as the Auburn University Stream Team or AUST) have agreed to engage high school students looking to potentially enroll in a college environmental science or natural resource curriculum.  Our intent is to inform students about water-related natural resource careers and give them a meaningful experience of monitoring an urban or rural stream in their neighborhood.  Through this program, high school students will be introduced to urban streams, stream monitoring and management, potential careers in aquatic science and natural resources, the variety of related degree programs available at Auburn University, and student life at Auburn University.

The following is a description of the major activities for the students including an approximate timeline:

1) Call for area high school students applications (Apr 2014).  We have contacted nearby high schools (within ~50 miles of Auburn) and provided them information and guidelines for student participation in our program. The program announcement includes directions for students to form teams of 2-3 students and submit their applications individually to the AUST for consideration. Complete applications will be due on 14 May 2014.

2) Receive and evaluate applications, select program participants (May 2014).  AUST members will gather after all applications are received to review them. It is expected that 6 school teams will be selected based on the completeness and quality of their applications. During the selection process, AUST will consider student interest and credentials (i.e., the quality of their essay, other listed activities, GPA), application completeness, and representation of high schools throughout the surrounding region.  Notification to the students in selected schools will be sent by the end of May.

3) Urban Water Symposium I at Auburn campus (Jul 2014).  The first of two student urban stream symposiums will be conducted on 24-26 July, 2014 at the Auburn University campus. Student attendance at this symposium is mandatory and all students must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Auburn University will provide overnight accommodations during the symposium at a university dormitory room for 2 nights.  Other accommodations will be made for sponsoring high school teachers who are encouraged to attend as well. Students and parents will meet the AUST members on campus and participate in brief seminars about streams, urban environments, natural resource management careers, related degrees and curriculum at Auburn University, and going to college at Auburn. Professionals working in these fields will be invited to attend and give a brief overview of their career paths and experience. Time will be set aside for parents and students to tour the campus and the Auburn community. On, the final day, students will be trained to monitor streams using the Alabama Water Watch (AWW) protocol. Co-PI Reutebuch will lead an overview of the AWW Program, citizen water quality monitoring in streams and then conduct actual student-teacher training on how to monitor a stream. Stream monitoring kits will be donated to each high school at the training session with guidance on selecting a stream, drafting a water quality monitoring plan, collecting stream data (including water chemistry and bacteriological monitoring), entering water data into AWW’s statewide online database, and interpreting data and data trends with online tools. Guidance by the AUST team will also be provided to students on presenting their data at their local city or town council meeting, which will be requested from all participating school teams.  At the end of the meeting, each school team will meet with a designated AUST member to consult with during their stream monitoring. Each AUST member will visit and advise student-teacher teams early during their monitoring efforts to review the stream and facilitate AWW data collection.

4) Student-teacher team to conduct stream monitoring (fall-winter 2014-15). For approximately 6 months, high school teams will monitor their designated urban stream. Early in the monitoring period, a designated AUST member will visit the student group at the stream site to review AWW monitoring protocols, answer questions, guide data collection, and help ensure effective stream monitoring. Teams will use the provided AUST kits to monitor their streams and will be encouraged to visit streams at least once a month. 

5) Student team presentation to local city council meeting or other public forum (Feb 2015). Once monitoring begins, student teams will be instructed to contact their local city council or other governance group that meets with the public regarding land planning or zoning. Students will schedule a time near the end of their designated monitoring period (~Feb 2015) when they can present their monitoring project to the council (approximately 15-20 minute presentations). Students will work with their high school teacher and AUST member to assist with data interpretation and presentation. 

6) Urban Water Symposium II at Auburn campus (1 day) (Mar 2015). Student groups will reconvene at Auburn University for a second symposium. Each student group will provide a presentation of their stream monitoring results including a synopsis of their presentation to their city council. Symposium presentations will be judged by the AUST based on monitoring effort, completeness, quality of presentation, their recommendations for improving streams, contributions from all team members, and overall understanding of their streams.  AUST members will convene briefly following all the presentations and each member of the high school team with the best judged presentation will be awarded a $500 scholarship to attend Auburn. The symposium will conclude with a brief workshop on developing a poster display about their stream monitoring project for display in their high school or other public area.


About the AUST Managing Members:

1) Christopher J. Anderson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Associate Director Center for Forest Sustainability (CFS). Dr. Anderson will serve as the project manager and as a stream expert on this project. He has worked as a stream and wetland scientists in academic and professional positions for over 20 years. As an Assistant Professor in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, he teaches several relevant courses related to urban water resources including watershed management, wetland ecology and management and urban ecology.  He has lead or collaborated on numerous research studies focused on the impacts of surrounding land use on the hydrology and water quality of urban streams. As Associate Director of the CFS, he provides technical and administrative support to the Center and its efforts to develop research, education and outreach related programs to address issues at the urban-rural interface.

2) Eve Brantley, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences. Dr. Brantley will serve as on outreach and stream expert on this program. She has worked in stream system research and education at the local, state, and regional level for 17 years.  She currently serves as the Alabama Cooperative Extension System State Water Resources Specialist and teaches the summer course, Soil Resources and Conservation.  Her primary extension responsibilities are providing science-based information to communities and stakeholders to protect, conserve, or restore water resources.   Since 2002, Dr. Brantley’s Watershed Education and Restoration program has conducted over 100 workshops, trained over 3,000 people (including teachers, students, natural resource professionals, and elected officials), restored over 7,850 linear feet of stream, and implemented 20 stormwater demonstration practices.

3) Michelle Cole, Outreach Director, Auburn University Center for Forest Sustainability. Ms. Cole will serve as project administrator and as an outreach expert on this program. She is the Outreach Director for the CFS at Auburn University and partners and develops educational programs and information targeted towards stakeholders with interest in forest sustainability and urban development.  She is also the co-advisor for (MANRRS) Minorities in Agriculture Natural Resources and Related Sciences in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences here at Auburn University.

4) Eric Reutebuch, Associate Director, Alabama Water Watch Program. Mr. Reutebuch has worked in aquatic ecology, limnology, and water resources management for the past 26 years. His work has been in nutrient and sediment loading of streams and rivers, eutrophication of lakes and reservoirs, stream ecology, and training of citizen water quality monitors throughout Alabama through the Alabama Water Watch Program. He has written numerous outreach publications (see www.alabamawaterwatch.org/resources/publications.html) and writes articles routinely for the AWW blog (see http://wp.auburn.edu/aww).

Water and Natural Resource High School Outreach Program- The Auburn University Stream Team: Preparing the Next Generation of Water Scientists



High school students seeking to participate in the 2014 AU Stream Team Outreach Program must form a school team with 2-3 students. Each individual must submit this 2-page application (including all required signatures) to be considered. Once complete with the application and essay, send it by one of the following:

• Mail application to: Michelle Cole | School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences | 602 Duncan Drive | Auburn, AL 36849

• Email scanned application to: coleden@auburn.edu

• Fax application to: (334) 844-1084 (Attn: Michelle Cole)

Application forms and essays will be reviewed in the order they are received. Incomplete forms and essays will not be reviewed.



Street Address______________________________________________________________________

City___________________ State_________________ Zip Code_________________________

Home Phone____________________________ Cell Phone_____________________________


Age_____ Grade in Fall 2014_______  High School GPA _____  Gender ______ T-Shirt Size____

Emergency Contact and Phone No:  _________________________________________________



Street Address______________________________________________________________________

City___________________ State_________________ Zip Code__________________________

Work Phone___________________________ Cell Phone_______________________________


Signature: ________________________________________

*By Principal signature above, I verify the age, grade, and current GPA of the student applicant.



Street Address______________________________________________________________________

City___________________ State_________________ Zip Code__________________________

Work Phone___________________________ Cell Phone_______________________________


Signature: ________________________________________

*By signature above, I agree to sponsor and support this student and his/her team to participate in the Auburn University Stream Team Outreach Program.



Street Address______________________________________________________________________

City___________________ State_________________ Zip Code__________________________

Work Phone___________________________ Cell Phone_______________________________

Signature*: ________________________________________

*By Principal signature above, I give permission for my child to attend and participate in the Auburn University Stream Team Program. I agree to attend the 2014 Summer Symposium in July 24-26, 2014.


Briefly describe (in 500 type words or less) why you are interested in participating in the AU Stream Team Outreach Program. What are your interests and past activities that have influenced your interest to pursuing career in water, the environment, and natural resources?



Auburn University | Auburn, Alabama 36849 | (334) 844-1078 |
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