Project BOOST: BrOOkie Science and Technology
Project Duration: September 2014 – June 2016
The Center for Coastal and Watershed Studies (CCWS), Hood College Frederick, MD was generously awarded funding for Project BOOST, a Service Learning Grant from the State Farm Youth Advisory Board. CCWS is very excited to begin working on Project BOOST: Brookie Science & Technology. CCWS in partnership with Frederick High School, Earth and Space Science Lab, and Hood College faculty, staff and students from the Environmental Sciences and Computer Sciences, will monitor and restore habitat vital to the native charr species in Maryland, the Eastern Brook Trout.
Eastern Brook Trout, or fondly referred to as brookies, need cooler water temperatures (usually below 70oF/21oC) to survive. Unfortunately, due to rapid urbanization, many tributaries within the Tuscarora watershed show increased temperatures, due to storm water runoff from roads and rooftops into nearby streams. Currently, brookie populations are in severe decline due to thermal stress and habitat loss. Project BOOST seeks to identify and monitor streams in the Tuscarora watershed in order to determine which sites are the best potential habitats for brookies and ultimately restore these sites so they once again are suitable habitat for brook trout.
Project BOOST is a multi-disciplinary research, education and outreach program that provides service-learning opportunities for students. Frederick High Schools Foundations of Technology students and Hood College Computer Science undergraduate students will be responsible for constructing temperature loggers that will be deployed into streams and tributaries that are suitable for brookies. Frederick High students will monitor stream sites to determine which streams maintain the optimal temperature for brookies. Students will learn about the life history and ecology of brookies and what they can do to improve stream sites for fish populations. Through Trout in the Classroom, an environmental education program offered to k-12 students, participants will raise trout in their classrooms and release them into a suitable stream in April 2015.
Project BOOST will also raise awareness of the Eastern Brook Trout decline to the community and exemplify ways we can improve and protect their habitat. A restoration event will be planned for 2015/2016 which will provide an opportunity for the public to learn more about our project and become involved in our efforts to restore the habitat for Brook Trout.