BEL AIR — Master Watershed Stewards work within their communities to identify pollutants, educate their neighbors about stream health, and take actions to reduce human impacts on water quality.

Applications are now being accepted for certification as a Master Watershed Steward in the Master Watershed Stewards Academy, a training program at Harford Community College provided by Harford County Government’s Watershed Protection and Restoration Office, and University of Maryland Extension. The academy trains and supports volunteer community leaders in the protection, restoration and conservation of watersheds to reduce the negative impacts of stormwater runoff. An information session for potential applicants will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 14, at the McFaul Activities Center, 525 West Macphail Road in Bel Air.

Academy graduates will have learned best management practices for controlling stormwater in a residential setting; the role of native plants in protecting the environment; hands-on practices in stormwater design and installation; how to educate others about stormwater issues; Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and other online tools for tracking projects; and know how to obtain project funding. Graduates will receive a toolkit with supplies and a certificate as a Master Watershed Steward.

The program has been approved for five Maryland State Department of Education credits for educators.

Anyone is welcome to apply, but priority will be given to Harford residents. Other requirements include basic computer skills, the ability to attend all classes, and a willingness to maintain certification and coordinate projects with the Harford County Watershed Protection and Restoration Office.

Classes will be held at Harford Community College, 401 Thomas Run Road in Bel Air, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on two Tuesdays of every month, Sept. 10, 2019, through May 12, 2020. There will also be four Saturday sessions from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for tours, field trips and class projects, all of which will be local.

Applications and two letters of reference are due by the July 28 deadline. Phone interviews will be conducted in August.

Class size is limited to 15 participants. Tuition is $150.

Questions may be addressed to Laura Coste’ at 410-638-3217 ext. 2448 or by email at wsa@harfordcountymd.gov.

More information and applications are online at bit.ly/Watershed Stewards.

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