Creek Connections to Showcase Waterway Research by Local Students

March 29, 2016 – Creek Connections will host its 14th annual Pittsburgh area student research symposium on Friday, April 8 at YMCA Camp Kon-O-Kwee in Fombell, just west of Zelienople. Community members are invited to view students’ project displays from 9 to 11 a.m. at the camp.

Guest speakers at this year’s symposium will be Joshua Sager and Joshua Powell, from Viable Industries, who have created an app called Water Reporter to help a local watershed group, Saw Mill Run Watershed Association, collect water quality monitoring data.

Creek Connections is an outreach program of Allegheny College that brings hands-on, inquiry-based education about watersheds to students ranging in age from middle school to high school.

Throughout the school year, participating students retrieve water samples and conduct research on waterways in their community, monitoring the conditions that affect the creeks’ water quality. At the research symposium, they come together to share interactive research displays and hands-on workshops with their classmates, teachers and the community.

“This is a celebration of the work that the students have been doing all year long,” said Laura Branby, Pittsburgh area educator for Creek Connections and director of the program’s annual Creek Camp. “It’s a celebration with us in the Creek Connections program, with their teachers and peers, and with adults who work in related career fields.”

Approximately 300 students from southwestern Pennsylvania will attend the symposium. More than a dozen environmental and environmental-related organizations will interact with the students to present their work and talk about career opportunities in environmental fields.

Among the schools planning to participate are Clairton Education Center, Gateway Middle School, Holy Redeemer School, Hopewell Memorial Junior High, Franklin Regional High School, North Hills High School, Quaker Valley High School, Seneca Valley School District, Shadyside Academy, West Mifflin Area High School, Woodland Hills Middle School, Riverview High School and a homeschool group.

A symposium on April 29, on the Allegheny College campus, will showcase the work of students from northwestern Pennsylvania, southwestern New York and eastern Ohio.

During the past year, Creek Connections has been supported by Allegheny College and individual donors as well as by grants from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, PPG Industries Foundation, Buhl Foundation and Grable Foundation. Creek Connections also received support during the past year from Palmiero Toyota and through the Pennsylvania Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program from Fluidraulics Inc. and Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield.

For more information on the Pittsburgh symposium, contact Wendy Kedzierski at 814-332-5351 or visit