Creek Connections Receives Grant for Water-Quality Monitoring Kits

Creek Connections at Allegheny College has received a $2,100 grant from Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy to purchase water-quality monitoring equipment.

Creek Connections grant award
Creek Connections Pittsburgh-area educator Laura Branby, center, accepts the grant, and a plaque, for water-quality testing kits from Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and Dominion Energy representatives.

“This grant is important because we are a long-time successful environmental-education project with ongoing costs,” said Wendy Kedzierski, Creek Connections project director. “We have a few schools that have been participating in the program since 1995. When they do water monitoring with their students, they use up materials in their test kits that need to be replaced. This grant funds those replacements.”

Through Creek Connections, Allegheny College forges partnerships with regional K–12 schools to turn waterways in northwest Pennsylvania, western Ohio, western Michigan and the Pittsburgh area into outdoor environmental laboratories. Emphasizing a hands-on, inquiry-based investigation of local waterways, this project annually involves more than 40 secondary schools and the classes of 50 teachers.

Students use the kits to test for nine parameters — temperature, conductivity, total dissolved solids, pH, oxygen, alkalinity, nitrogen, phosphorus and turbidity — that they monitor monthly during the school year.

“This also benefits Allegheny College students because we employ several as project assistants,” Kedzierski said. “The experience they get working at Creek Connections is unlike any other work-study job on campus. They teach middle and high school students each week and expand their knowledge of watersheds, water quality and stream monitoring.”

The grant program is administered by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy in commitment to its core mission of conserving Pennsylvania’s diverse ecosystems through science-based strategy, leadership, and collaboration. Financial support for this project is provided by the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation which is dedicated to the economic, physical and social health of the communities served by Dominion Energy companies.