Join us from July 11–17, 2021

Stream ecology is the study of all the living and non-living components of stream systems and how those elements interact with each other. Think of anything you might find in a stream: a trout, a crayfish, a rock, a bug, maybe even an old tire. All of these things influence each other and are affected by one another in a continuum—from small streams to large rivers.

This residential summer program will have you searching under rocks for crawdads and salamanders and testing stream waters for phosphate, nitrogen and dissolved oxygen.

The SEI promotes learning experiences about long-term ecological studies to high school students. You will have the opportunity to learn more about the environment as well as explore career possibilities in science and ecology.

Students entering grades 10-12 are invited to register.

Registration link

Eager to begin your studies and to investigate:

  • If plants affect the presence of aquatic invertebrates?
  • How the material in the stream bed influence aquatic communities?
  • The correlation between stream flow, water temperature, dissolved oxygen and fish populations? 

For a full week, you will be taught the fundamentals of water quality, macroinvertebrate and fish sampling, and identification. You'll get plenty of hands‐on experience using the latest equipment and methods employed by professionals in the field of aquatic ecology.

On the final day, you will present your findings, using the latest in computer technology, to a panel of science educators and natural resource professionals.

Join us for this exciting college life experience while learning the basics of stream ecology!

At Stream Ecology Institute, you'll get a chance to:

  • "Immerse" yourself in the Susquehanna River Basin ecosystem to learn about numerous components of the streams
  • Learn how water movement, fish, invertebrates, vegetation, bacteria, water chemistry and pollution affect the creek
  • Explore regional creeks from the bottom up, and develop your own study to investigate an aspect of the creek that interests you

Other highlights include:

  • Boating
  • Hiking
  • Picnicking in state parks
  • Visit to Penn's Cave
  • Daily field trips
  • Sample collections in rivers, creeks and small streams
  • Electrofishing in local streams
  • Study of headwater streams
  • Final research presentations for families

The Comprehensive fee includes room, meals and all program materials.

  • Must be registered by June 25


Scholarships are available based on financial need and academic performance. No full-tuition scholarships are available.

A letter from your guidance counselor, indicating your eligibility for free/reduced lunch or other measure(s) of financial need, is required for scholarship consideration.


All registrations must be submitted no later than June 25.

All supporting documentation must be received prior to your arrival on campus.

SEI is run by Susquehanna University faculty and staff with impressive talents, who study and monitor environmental issues within the watershed. The program is born from dedicated faculty who are committed to the research to define and improve the quality of life for all who live, work and play within the Susquehanna River Basin boundaries.

Jack Holt

Professor of Biology
Susquehanna University

Holt and his lab study algae and macroinvertebrates in small headwater streams and the large main stem of the Susquehanna River. He follows the two types of living communities to see how they change through seasons and how they vary through years. Within that variability he looks for patterns that inform him about the health of the aquatic systems. Visit Holtlab on Facebook for updates.

Michael Bilger

Adjunct Faculty in Biology
Susquehanna University

With the university's Freshwater Research Initiative, Bilger and his team were involved in six stream restoration projects with the PA Fish and Boat Commission. He partnered with Penn State University to study smallmouth bass from four sites on the Susquehanna River and surrounding creeks. Bilger was also involved in a joint study to dissect the stomach contents from thousands of crayfish to identify what they have been eating.

With recent faster-spreading variants — especially those more severely affecting young adults and children — Susquehanna University instituted vaccination protocols for the health and safety of its students, faculty, staff and guests.

  • All students residing on campus over the summer, including high school students who participate in pre-college programs, must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by the time they arrive on campus. Fully vaccinated is defined as at least two weeks after the final dose.
    • The minimum age for getting vaccinated is determined by each COVID-19 vaccine. For the list of approved vaccinations and their age indications and schedule, visit this CDC page.
  • A copy of the student’s COVID-19 vaccination card must be submitted with the required medical form (accessible from each program page).

If you have questions regarding the summer vaccination requirement, email Michelle Harman at or call 570-372-4451.

*Participant safety is our highest priority. Susquehanna University reserves the right to cancel Summer Pre-College Programs if necessary in order to comply with local, state, and federal guidelines and recommendations.

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Summer Pre-College Programs

514 University Ave.
Selinsgrove, Pa. 17870

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