Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District is recruiting new Water Stewards for the upcoming year, 2021. The program is currently going through a name change (formerly known as the Master Water Stewards) and making some modifications in its training process to accommodate changes needed due to the pandemic. But the goals and implementation process remain the same!
What is the Water Stewards Program?
This program engages citizen volunteers to work within their communities to improve water health at the grassroots level, prevent water pollution, and educate citizens to conserve and protect our waterways. Begun in 2013 by Freshwater, the Water Stewards Program is a training and volunteer program and collaboration of partners across the metro area including watershed districts, cities, watershed management organizations, and other entities who volunteer and work together at a community level to improve water and educate the public about water issues.
Are you interested in becoming involved? Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Are you concerned about the water quality in your community?
- Do you have a passion for learning new things, empowering yourself, and engaging others?
- Are you interested in building your leadership skills to help your community work together to support improvement in our local lakes, wetlands, and streams and address water conservation issues?
- Do you have a neighborhood or community in Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District that you would like to assist in working together to make changes that can impact water quality, other related issues, and enhance citizen education?
Recruitment for the Water Steward program for 2020 is starting now!
RWMWD seeks to recruit four new Master Water Stewards in 2021. RWMWD will pay training costs of $1500 per steward. You can participate in one of these online info sessions to learn more about the program. The training program for 2021 begins in January. Dates for these info sessions are
Tuesday, October 13, 2020, 5:00 pm
Tuesday, October 27, 2020, 12:00 pm
Tuesday, November 10, 2020, 5:00 pm
Tuesday, November 17, 2020, 12:00 pm
- To sign up for one of these training sessions and to apply online for the program, go to this link: https://masterwaterstewards.org/info-sessions/
- If you would like more information about the program, please contact Sage Passi, the Watershed Education Specialist at RWMWD at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call her 612-598-9163 and go online here: https://masterwaterstewards.org/.
Once you have applied online and attended an info session, Sage will schedule a phone interview and arrange a social distancing in-person meeting. Please feel free to contact her with any questions during any of this process.
What does the training and capstone process involve?
Water Stewards complete an online training curriculum led by experts in the fields of hydrology, stormwater management and groundwater health, water policy, community-based social marketing, landscape assessment, and installation of clean water practices. Upon completion of this training, stewards develop a capstone project in partners or teams with support from their sponsoring organization that improves the health of local water while involving and educating their community. Projects vary considerably. In the following years, Master Water Stewards continue to work on projects and volunteer in various capacities in their watershed district and others around the metro area with the majority of their volunteer hours each year implemented in their sponsoring watershed district. On-going training activities are offered in subsequent years.
What activities have our Water Stewards been involved in implementing?
- Recruiting and assisting other residents in the design and installation of rain gardens
- Designing, installing, and promoting bee lawns and other sustainable yard practices
- Installing shoreline restoration projects and collecting native seeds
- Promoting and engaging volunteers in the Adopt-A-Drain Program
- Doing water conservation activities and education.
- Distributing native plants at food shelves during COVID
- Assisting with restoration projects and rain garden installations at churches, schools, and homes
- Organizing the distribution and installation of rain barrels and educating residents about their use
- Educating parents and youth at public events about water use, sustainable water quality practices
- Helping with classroom and field day watershed activities
- Doing neighborhood education about water quality, pollinators, non-point source pollution, and native plants.
- Leading classes and tours for older adults to Clean Water project demonstration sites, restoration sites, and Tamarack Nature Preserve
- Working with cities to promote sustainable land practices, and much more!
RWMWD currently has twenty-one Water Stewards who have participated in the training over the last five years are active in their communities and help other stewards on their projects in different locations around the metro area. This is truly a team effort! We’ve been partnering with Freshwater since late 2015 and the other partners in this program to create and build a network of Water Stewards. They have gone through training, implemented capstone projects in their community, and are currently working on additional water education and improvement projects. They are quite a powerhouse of energy!
For some examples of projects, training, and activities our Water Stewards have been involved with over the years, here are several links from our Ripple Effect to learn about their efforts: