There are nearly 600,000 students attending Pennsylvania's 150 colleges and universities, a large and often untapped resource for watershed organizations.
Finding an interested professor of environmental studies or related topics can be a first key step to maintaining a long and successful partnership with area colleges and universities. While students may come and go, an interested and knowledgeable professor can help make transitions between students easier for your group. Such a professor may also serve a key role on your board of directors, considering his ever-growing knowledge of environmental issues. Ask the recruited professor to provide incentives for involved students such as work-study wages, internship credits, or extra credit in environmental classes. If a partnership with a local professor is not possible, advertise through the school newspaper or college bulletin boards for interested students.
Students, especially those working toward a degree in the sciences, have many different talents to offer your group. They may be able to teach your group correct water sampling techniques or help interpret historical data. Students may also be able to volunteer for an internship with your group or use your watershed as the subject of a report on watershed health. Also consider contacting students studying for degrees in writing or history who can provide detailed press pieces or historical inventories. And because most student groups are required to perform communities service, they are often eager to participate in cleanups and water sampling.
Academic institutions also provide the opportunity for members of a watershed organizations to take classes benefiting their group. Introductory classes in environmental problems, laws and treatment are often available at community colleges that offer night classes. If you are unable to attend a class, many environmental groups provide basic environmental education information on their websites.