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Forest Service Launches Freshwater Snorkeling Education Program in Vermont

Green Mountain National Forest, in conjunction with NorthBay, launched a "Freshwater Snorkeling Education Program,” which will engage students from eight different schools on several dates throughout June. Forest Service employees and other specialists lead the programs, which include hands-on water exercises as well as out of water activities.

This effort will educate participants about the importance of clean water, aquatic life and the aquatic habitats that so many species in Vermont depend on. The program follows the newly released Forest Service Freshwater Snorkeling Curriculum, geared toward school children from grades 3–12, and is built to help them better understand their connection to our rivers and streams.

The program is being held at the Forest Service Civilian Conservation Corps Camp located along the West Branch of the White River in Rochester, Vermont. This portion of the West Branch, one of the major tributaries of White River, is also a major Tropical Storm Irene river restoration site.

The West Branch is being used as a "classroom" where employees will have an opportunity to help students understand their ties to national forests, the importance of forested watersheds for clean water, and the importance of habitat diversity to aquatic life. River snorkeling connects students to the life in our streams in a powerful way as they discover how habitat diversity affects species diversity. The state of Vermont has a tremendous and exciting diversity of ecosystems and communities that share the same water. Events like the “Freshwater Snorkeling Program” are geared at making a significant impact in the way the forest emphasizes the importance of water while working to educating our present and future generations.

Dan McKinley discusses the Freshwater Snorkeling Program during an interview with WCAX in Vermont
Vermont students participating in the Freshwater Snorkeling Program and Dan McKinley discusses the Freshwater Snorkeling Program during an interview with WCAX in Vermont. Forest Service photo by Ethan Ready.

Vermont students participating in the Freshwater Snorkeling Program. Forest Service photo by Ethan Ready.
Vermont students participating in the Freshwater Snorkeling Program. Forest Service photo by Ethan Ready.