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Stream health assessment kits for schools

Stream health assessment kits for schools

Updated 12 May 2022 3:47pm

Greater Wellington Regional Council supports schools interested in learning about freshwater ecosystems. We have developed stream health assessment kits and guidance for schools and environmental educator’s to use with students.

The stream health assessment kits provide a simple and practical resource for teachers wanting to engage students in learning about the importance of water quality, ecological systems and scientific approaches. The kits are designed to be used in the field by teachers and students undertaking practical aspects of stream health assessment.

Learning about some of the factors affecting water quality is a great way for kids to get involved, to explore the concept of stream biodiversity and to share ideas on what we can do to protect streams. 

Stream health assessment kits

A number of stream assessment kits are available for schools to borrow. These kits can be booked for use in the Wellington region by schools, or by environmental educators who work with schools. The kits contain everything needed to undertake basic stream health assessment. This includes:


An Educator's Guide to Stream Health Assessment

This guide is a resource to support teachers in leading a stream assessment field trip with their students. It includes background information as well as practical guidance on planning a field trip, setting-up at a site and using equipment. It also includes worksheets, identification cards and links to other useful resources. Download the guide here.

Stream assessment equipment

The kit includes all the equipment and materials needed to undertake basic stream health assessment. Assessment involves investigating the water quality, physical features of a site and the plants and animals living in and alongside the stream. 

Worksheet and identification cards

A Stream Health Assessment Worksheet and identification cards for algae and critters (in both English and Te Reo) are also included in the kit. You can download and print more copies here:

Stream Health Assessment Worksheet (English)

Stream Health Assessment Worksheet (Te Reo)

Algae identification card

Critter identification card

To help plan your field trip, you might like a map of the area you will be visiting. A number of these are available to download from the list on the right. 


How to book a kit

To request the use of a stream assessment kit email your contact details, name, the location of your school and the dates you require the kit to

You will need to submit your request in advance to ensure that the kit is available when you want it. You can generally borrow the kit for two to three weeks, although this can be extended if there isn’t another booking.

There is no cost to borrow the kit but a lending agreement will need to be signed by the school. This is because the kits include specialist equipment and we need to make sure it is well looked after. See the lending agreement below for more information, including terms and conditions of the loan, the school’s responsibilities and what happens if equipment is damaged or lost.

Download the lending agreement

Student Transport Grant

This grant support schools explore and take action in their local environment. It can be used by schools taking part in field trips as part of:

There is a maximum of $500 per year available for up to 90 students towards transport costs of:

  • Two buses or train trips
  • Guided bike ride to field trips

If your school is interested, take a look at the Student Transport Grant Application form.

Teacher training workshops

GWRC and some of our partners can provide training for teachers wanting to learn how to use the stream kits.

Training workshops involve visiting a stream location where you can learn how to assess stream health, including how to set up and use the equipment. These workshops take around 2 hours.

For information on training workshops near you and to register your interest, contact us on

Online education resources

These are some online resources that provide information about stream health and assessment:

  • GWRC Take Action for Water is an environmental education resource for teachers to help primary and intermediate school students (years 5-8) investigate and explore their local freshwater environment.
  • The Whitebait Connection is an education programme developed by a non-profit community conservation group. It encourages New Zealanders to understand and be involved in the health of our local streams, rivers, lakes and wetlands.
  • NIWA has developed identification guides on freshwater plants, algae, fish and invertebrates. 
  • The Department of Conservation has information on aquatic invertebrates, freshwater fish and more.
  • Landcare Research has a freshwater invertebrate identification guide here.
  • Te Ara/The Encyclopaedia of New Zealand has a lot of information on freshwater habitats and what biodiversity might be found in them.
  • Land Air Water Aotearoa is a web portal where scientific data about the environment is shared. It has a lot of useful information on the state of freshwater and freshwater monitoring around the Wellington region.