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Expanding the Leaf Pack Network to South and Central America

The Amazon is the largest river in the world. Flowing through Peru, Bolivia, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and Brazil, it drains 40 percent of the continent of South America, its watershed covers more than 2.7 million square miles, and it carries a fifth of the world’s freshwater discharge to the ocean—a volume greater than the 10 next largest rivers combined. Its thousands of tributaries include 12 that are themselves over 1,000 miles long.

Perhaps we should add one more tributary to the list: White Clay Creek.

For while it is true that the White Clay does not run within 3,000 miles of the Amazon, the knowledge that the Stroud Water Research Center’s scientists have gleaned from its waters and the programs that the Center’s educators have pioneered on its banks increasingly flow to the vast river and the people who seek to protect it.

The latest example came in September when Director Dr. Bern Sweeney and Educator Christina Medved led a weeklong program in the Amazonian headwaters of Peru. Their goal was to use the Leaf Pack Kit and the Leaf Pack Network® website created by the Center’s scientists and educators to teach local citizens how to monitor the quality of their water and assess the degradation in their streams. In two packed workshops, Sweeney and Medved introduced the new Spanish-language version of Leaf Pack—the latest development in their ongoing efforts to expand the program across Latin America and ultimately around the world.

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