This year is the 20th anniversary of Missouri Stream Teams—volunteers dedicated to taking care of Missouri’s streams and rivers. About 60,000 Missourians around the state are pitching in to clean up litter, plant trees to stabilize soil, monitor water quality and educate others on our most important water resources.
Here are few comments from Stream Team members on what volunteering this way means to them:
“Sometimes I get frustrated and feel like it’s a lost cause, and then when I get the Stream Team newsletter or see an article in the Conservationist magazine I realize that people do care and that together we can make a difference. I can’t believe how the Stream Team idea has grown! The river has given me so many great memories; this is my way of paying it back.” Frank Freise, Stream Team #3
Does all this make a difference? It did to one student, who told the group’s leader he would have dropped out of school had it not been for Stream Team. “It doesn’t get any better than that.” Nancy Elliot, Stream Team #779/teacher Chillicothe Middle School
“Until we attended the South Grand River Watershed meeting I had no idea there was a network of people working hard to protect the rivers and streams in this area. It is a nice feeling to know there are so many good contacts out there to help us out.” JoAnn Cooper
While the main support for the program is housed at the Missouri Department of Conservation, the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation Federation of Missouri also contribute to the effort. Throughout the year they offer several classes on getting to know what lives in a stream and how to check the quality of the water in a stream near you.
There are more than 3,000 teams in the state, so you should be able join one near you. And if you’d rather do something on your own or with your family, you can create your own team, too!