Upstream is an interactive, hands-on science program concentrating on the ecology and mitigation of the Bort-Lambrecht Drain, a small stream that crosses the Upton property. The program is offered as a partnership between Upton Middle School and PhycoTech, Inc., a St. Joseph environmental consulting firm. In-class presentations and stream sampling are conducted by Ann St. Amand, Ph.D. with the assistance of Upton 6th grade teachers and classes. UpStream is being offered in the 6th grade as a monthly class module and to all middleschoolers as a club after school once a month.
The 2016-2017 school year is the twelfth full year of the program, and the curriculum has been modified from the Interactive Lakes Ecology (ILE) curriculum developed by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services. Instruction centers around the sampling of the stream 2-4 times a year, including water chemistry, physical measurements of flow and stream bed characteristics, and biological measurements including algae and macro invertebrates. Students also listen to lectures and participate in classroom demonstrations on invasive species, food web dynamics, watersheds and how they function (including upland forest ecology), pollution in aquatic ecosystems, groundwater flow, stream and lake sampling, and the importance of stakeholders and community involvement in successful environmental projects. The program each year ends with a presentation to the St. Joseph Board of Education about the state of the stream and recommendations for stream mitigation given by the students.
There have four Eagle Scout projects completed in the natural upland area bordering the stream (building a teaching area with podium and benches-Travis Russell and reconditioning trails, re-marking tree species and ecological areas of interest-Kyle Moran, butterfly garden and stream side lab beaches Jonathan Clark, extended trail by 500 ft.-Pat Russell) and a fifth is in progress (Rain gardens - Gordan Davis). Outside professionals also participate in the program, including presentations by the Drain Commissioner, Roger Zilke.
Upstream has received six grants. Two from Heart of Cook (2008-2010, 2012 and 2014) and one from Berrien County Recycle and Recovering program.