By Donny Roush, Urban Waters Program Director, Earth Force
I contend there’s a sweet spot of overlap between stormwater management and STEM education. How’s that?
Consider these two objectives: “education and outreach” is the first required control measure of a stormwater system and new national education standards contain heightened calls for more hands-on application of science and engineering by students. See that?
Students investigating stormwater, and—with guidance from educators and engineers—devising novel solutions to runoff issues hits both of those targets. The guiding question is “How does water move around our city?”
Stormwater presents a compelling topic for local, relevant and meaningful investigations by students and their teachers. Denver Public Works and Earth Force have spent the last five years reimagining stormwater education. Our revised program rests on these axioms:
- Stormwater is a resource.
- Watersheds are infrastructure.
- Engineering is problem-solving.
- Youth are stakeholders.
Upon these concepts, we’ve built “Keep It Clean – Neighborhood Environmental Trios,” to facilitate watershed investigations, engage youth in improving urban waterways, and deeply explore root causes of runoff pollution. The program’s acronym is “KIC-NET,” which happens to be a play on words, since a kick-net is a favorite tool of environmental educators, hooking kids by catching critters from creeks (read more about KIC-NET in this blog post).
There’s lots more to share about KIC-NET. Which is why I’m inviting you to participate in one of these workshops.
Thanks to the Colorado Foundation for Water Education’s Water Educator Network for convening these stops on a statewide roadshow for KIC-NET.
And, if you need a final straw to tilt your decision, we will be bringing a giant one with us to each city, to be placed in a wet and visible location (see photo)….