Missouri River Relief will host a monthlong virtual Watershed Expeditions program for students fourth through 12th grade starting Oct. 26 after its summer program received positive feedback.

Each week, students will focus on a certain topic pertaining to the exploration of the students’ local watershed, according to a news release. Instructors will guide the weekly meetings and lead the students in group activities via Zoom. Students will have the opportunity to choose between morning or afternoon time slots.

This is the first year Missouri River Relief has held Watershed Expeditions at Home, according to Kristen Schulte, education director of Missouri River Relief. The first sessions were held over the summer after the organization had to cancel the in-person camp due to COVID-19. Schulte said they decided to resume the program for fall as it became clear school events would not be returning to the status quo.

“We had such a positive response from the families and students that participated in the summer program that they all asked if we would be doing this again in the fall. Honestly, we haven’t really even thought about it because we were just trying to make it through the summer,” Schulte said.

A lack of in-person programming has been a struggle for Missouri River Relief’s river cleanups and education programs, Schulte said. The expeditions serve as a way to support families and students during the pandemic.

“For folks that are new to homeschooling, it is an easy curriculum that engages the kids and that also allows them to socialize with their peers,” Schulte said.

Anna Miller, AmeriCorps education assistant with Missouri River Relief, said the organization has modified the fall program to better fit the needs of students — operating as more of an after-school or home school unit rather than a summer camp.

“We’ve got different activities for the fall sessions that are more fit for the season, like a scavenger hunt that focuses more on all related materials that they find in their watershed,” Miller said. “We also focus on how different seasonal changes affect the watershed.”

Miller said it was rewarding for Schulte and her to help kids connect with each other and the environment, and learn more about stewardship and conservation.

“We really tried to reinforce the idea of collaborative and community interactions between the kids through our virtual experience sessions of the program,” Miller said. “I’m sure it would be great to get out and get to explore the local area since we’ve been so shut in for the past couple of months with COVID, as well as getting to meet some new friends.”

The program costs $50 per student, and financial aid is available to qualified participants, according to Missouri River Relief’s website.

  • Education reporter, fall 2020. Studying Strategic Communication. You can reach me at evaqian@mail.missouri.edu, or in the newsroom at 882-5720

  • Galen Bacharier is an assistant city editor at the Missourian. He has reported on higher education, state government and breaking news. Reach him at galenbacharier@gmail.com or on Twitter @galenbacharier.

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