Adopt A Stream Foundation
Adopt A Stream Foundation Improves Outreach with Technology Donations
The Adopt A Stream Foundation was established in 1985 to teach people how to become stewards of their watersheds. The organization, located in Everett, Washington, conducts Streamkeeper Academy classes to educate students of all ages about their streams. It also produces environmental education materials and provides local communities with stream and wetland restoration assistance.
In 2009, AASF taught 2,336 students about the habits and habitat requirements of wildlife in the Northwest. In that time frame, volunteers from many schools and community groups joined the organization to serve 2,224 hours to work on environmental projects. Volunteers built new salmon and trout habitats and planted thousands of trees and shrubs.
Outreach to the community is very important for AASF, and it discovered that going door-to-door to talk to the community was an innovative and effective method. However the organization found it challenging to prove its effectiveness in order to win grants and other funding.
Microsoft Access turned out to be essential to gathering and analyzing data. Because the software was intuitive to use, AASF staff was able to quickly train volunteers to help with data analysis. By creating reports and graphs in Access, the organization was able to show just how effective its unique door-to-door educational method is. It is even able to use this data with its GIS mapping software, plotting points in a graphical representation of its report.
The database has uncovered some unexpected results. It was a common belief that landowners were not willing to talk to strangers about their environmental practices. After analyzing the data, AASF realized that 90 percent of landowners are receptive to its efforts, but there were often physical barriers between the volunteer and their front door. The time saved with both entering and analyzing data has enabled AASF staff and volunteers to concentrate their time on the organization's mission.