The Verde Institute partnered with Grand Canyon Youth, NRCD Environmental Education Center, AZ State Parks Family Campout program, and Audubon Arizona to bring the VRI Macroinvertebrate Sampling program to conduct a Macroinvertebrate Assessment. Macroinvertebrates are organisms that live underwater in our streams and rivers, lack a backbone, and can be seen by the naked eye. Monitors identify the macroinvertebrates they collect. Based on the macroinvertebrate diversity and sensitivity to pollution, a better understanding of our streams’ health is gained.
What was the impact?
The Verde Institute created a community project to test the health of their streams, and had over 150 community members attend. With funding help from RAIN they were able to purchase the materials necessary for the new program such as nets, tape measures, tables, water containers, magnifiers, tools to separate macroinvertebrates from the sample, water quality meters, and other materials needed to perform the tests and make the experience useful, educational and fun for kids!
What will they do in the future?
In the future the institute will run two parallel projects: one will use 3-4 teams who sample independently, and the other will be conducted by VRI staff. This second project will engage many additional young scientists and encourage more community members and local youth to become engaged in the STEM fields.
The Arizona Rural Activation and Innovation Network (RAIN) is funded by the National Science Foundation to oversee grant funding for informal STEM education projects in four rural Arizona communities: Cochise County, Graham and Greenlee County, the Verde Valley, and the Navapache/White Mountains region. RAIN acts as a resource for best practices in informal STEM program development and works to highlight effective STEM programs, employers and organizations across the state of Arizona. Interested in applying for a grant? Visit our website today and learn more about the opportunities in your community.