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The Schuylkill Explorers Kit


The Schuylkill Explorers Kit is FREE but there is a $5 shipping fee. The kit is also available in Spanish upon request. Kits are limited to ONE PER HOUSEHOLD. Group kits may be available upon request. To request a Spanish translation or kits for a group, contact SRG Education Director Sarah Crothers at scrothers@schuylkillriver.org or leave her a voice message at 484-945-0200. 

What is this kit?

The Schuylkill Explorers kit will educate families living within the Schuylkill River Watershed about the importance of watershed health in a fun way as well as give families a chance to grow a connection to nature in any environment.

This kit includes activities that explore the great outdoors and expose young explorers to fun hobbies such as identifying wildlife and nature journaling. It also includes four fun science experiments which include topics like soil pH and environment model building. These allow explorers to feel like a real environmental scientist and watershed ecologist!

What is in this kit?

There are four experiments with materials included

  1. Plant Growth: seeds, soil, biodegradable pots
  2. Make Your Own Watershed: ground coffee, sugar, jello mix, Ziploc bag
  3. Groundwater: small mason jar, ground coffee, sugar, jello mix
  4. Soil pH: small mason jars, soil, vinegar, baking soda

There is exploring equipment:

  • Outdoor Explorer Skills Handbook
  • Small compass
  • Binoculars
  • Magnifying Glass
  • Wildlife key and identification cards
  • Colored pencils
  • Pocket-sized journal

And more!

Why is this kit important? Nature provides us with resources that we depend on to live and have a good, healthy quality of life. We need to take care of these resources so that we can use them for generations to come.

A major natural resource that is most abundant in our region is water. Watershed education is important because it helps us make connections between the activities we do on land and their impact on the environment. For example, planting a tree is beneficial to our water quality since it provides shade, habitat, filters water, and prevents erosion. Whereas littering is harmful and pollutes our local streams and rivers that we rely on for drinking water and recreation like fishing and boating.

A watershed is the area of land that drains to a specific river, so if you live in the Schuylkill River Watershed, the rain that you experience in your neighborhood will eventually make its way to the Schuylkill River.

The Schuylkill River Watershed provides drinking water to about 1.5 million people across the five counties that lie within the watershed: Schuylkill, Berks, Chester, Montgomery, and Philadelphia. The Schuylkill River flows into the Delaware River, connecting our watershed to an even bigger watershed: the Delaware River, which provides drinking water to residents in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, and New Jersey, and eventually flows into the Delaware Bay.

The Schuylkill River needs to be cleaned to provide safe drinking water to everyone; that means no litter nor pollution going into the water! Unfortunately, the river had a very polluted past because it was used to transport goods like coal and crops from rural Pennsylvania to Philadelphia. Boats lost some of these goods in transport, much like seeing dirt or other debris flying off a truck with an open back along the highway. Additionally, people didn’t know that pollution can be harmful, so they dumped their waste into the river, making it unhealthy.

The Clean Water Act was established in 1972 in order to prevent a lot of waste from getting into the river and to make the river clean again. The river is much cleaner than it was before, but we are still working on reducing the pollutants that still find their way into the river due to the nature of modern life. Some main pollutants are abandoned mine drainage from Schuylkill County, agriculture runoff from Berks County, litter and stormwater runoff from Montgomery County, and combined sewer overflow from Philadelphia.

This kit teaches lessons about watershed science and ecology that are easy to understand and are fun for the whole family.

Nature Fun Stuff

Nature also provides us a natural and healthy way to have fun and improve our general wellness. This is called recreation! Modern life makes it hard for people to take a moment out of their busy schedule and just be in the real world. Medical studies strongly suggest that it is necessary to spend time outside and feel grounded to the earth. In fact, it is encouraged to spend at least two hours outside to promote heart health, reduce stress, and increase creativity and wonder. Children who spend a lot of time outdoors receive these benefits and create a connection to the natural world around them. Nature can be found all around us, whether it is in your backyard or trees and plants on city streets. Children who spend more time outside tend to be more sociable, calm, happy, and wiser than those who do not.

This kit introduces hobbies that include the great outdoors for the whole family and any age.


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