Water All Around You School Program Goes Virtual!
The NSRWA is adapting to the changing educational climate by continuing to offer their popular Water All Around You program to local south shore students. “Though we can’t interact with the students in their schools right now, we can still engage them in meaningful and fun science related activities.” said NSRWA Environmental Educator Brian Taylor. “By developing a virtual curriculum, we will be able to provide our water education activities to our partnered towns and schools. One positive takeaway from this is we will continue to build these resources going forward, allowing us to expand our reach, even when we’re back in school. We are glad technology allows us to continue to be a resource for teachers during this time.” The NSRWA has already sent out its first of several watershed related educational supplements to teachers. This is just another example of how a local grassroots non-profit is adjusting, adapting, and continuing its hard work and mission.
Episode 1 – Water Across the Land
We’ve done this with groups in the past, its a pretty fun and simple way to demonstrate how a watershed works. Note: a drainage divide can be considered the boundary between two watersheds. To use less materials, this can be modified by just crumpling a piece of tin foil as the land with its hills and valleys. The tin foil holds its shape so it doesn’t need anything underneath it. Plus you can fold up the edges to keep water from leaking out.
In replacement of our local watershed maps activity, below is a link to the ArcGIS (Geographic Information System) tool that shows any locations, watersheds, and respective boundaries. The map will start by showing the entire country and its HUC (Hydrologic Unit Codes) which can be thought of as big watersheds. To begin, students can zoom in or type an address into the search bar at the top right. Similar to Google maps, students can change the layers to show different overlays like real terrain.
Once they have found or typed in a desired address, click on the spot and a small box over that address will appear that gives the name of their local watershed. They can click the “Zoom To” icon and it will zoom out to show that particular watershed boundary. As a task, you can have students find and identify several places of interest and their respective watersheds i.e. house, school, town hall, etc.
Note: Some smaller watershed sub-basins may be under a different name. Example: Back River watershed is named Weir River Watershed, and the Weir River watershed is named Hingham Bay Frontal – Quincy Bay. This is true, however, we may know and refer to them otherwise. Please feel free to email me regarding any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Episode 2 – Water Beneath Your Feet
How do we get clean water at home? Where does the dirty water go… and how does it get treated? What is a watershed… and why is it important?
The Water All Around You program is here to answers these questions and more. And we do so by letting South Shore students learn first-hand through fun, interactive lessons. Every year more than 2,500 South Shore students learn how they can protect their local watershed.
When the Water All Around You program visits a school, students and parent volunteers gather around 3D models showing how water moves across their town, how pollution travels down our streets when it rains and ends up in our rivers, and how dirty water gets treated. As part of the program, students can even tour their local water treatment plant. Most importantly, they learn how to conserve water by making small changes–and that’s just the start.
“All together, [Water All Around You] tells a story, and the best part is that it’s so tied to the curriculum and leads to such wonderful conversations in the classroom afterwards.
~ Melinda Soliwada, Pembroke Elementary Teacher
Water is a valuable resource, especially here on the South Shore, so it’s important to use it wisely. Water All Around You really helps students understand how they can help to keep their local water clean and learn how to conserve it – for now and for the future.
Stay tuned for the second episode in which we’ll discuss groundwater!
The Water All Around You school program is sponsored by WaterSmart South Shore. WaterSmart is a nonprofit partnership between the NSRWA and 12 towns on the South Shore: Cohasset, Duxbury, Hanover, Hingham, Hull, Kingston, Marshfield, Norwell, Pembroke, Rockland, Scituate and Weymouth. Our programs are based on the belief that education is key. Since its creation, WaterSmart has educated thousands of local school-age children, adults, and businesses on water conservation, stormwater pollution, where their water comes from, and how to care for it.
To learn more about the Water All Around You program for your school or group, contact WaterSmart Program Manager Lori Wolfe, at email@example.com or (781) 659-8168.
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