By Kathy Parker, Central Colorado Water Conservancy District
When was the last time you were excited about water education?
One of the great pleasures in my job is witnessing the “aha!” moment when teachers attending a Project WET workshop finally make the connections between an abstract concept of water with a real world understanding of water’s influence in their lives.
The Project WET curriculum does an outstanding job of setting up fun, interactive lessons that really bring home some heavy topics like water quality, sharing and management, health and water, groundwater and many other subjects. All the material and lessons have been vetted by a team of scientists and educators for both content and academic standards.
A new Generation 2.0 Guide was published in 2011 to incorporate 21st Century skills, new teaching methods and new topics such as “Water and Food Security,” and “Water, Weather, Climate and Change.”
For me the best part is that all activities have been laid out with background, easy instructions, lists of supplies needed, extensions and assessments.
I have been a trained Project WET facilitator and Host Institution since 2011. As the Education Coordinator for a Water Conservancy District, the Project WET training and materials have given me confidence and a quick and easy resource, whether I’m doing a classroom presentation for 3rd graders, running a Water Festival or training teachers. I think especially if you are a non-formal educator that Project WET offers the best training, non-biased lesson plans and resources.
You can also make your life easier by becoming a trained facilitator and offering workshops in your area. If you offer even one training a year attended by 30 teachers, those 30 teachers will be reaching an average 25 students each. Multiply that by five years, and suddenly you have helped reach 3,750 students. Not bad for a day’s work!
Project WET’s mission is for the world to “protect, conserve and better manage water resources by making effective, solutions-oriented water education accessible to educators, students and community members worldwide.” (From the introduction in the Project WET Curriculum and Activity Guide, Generation 2.0.)
Perhaps it’s best said in this quote, written on a teacher workshop evaluation form from a few years ago…“Absolutely amazing. I feel like a kid coming home from camp for the first time.”
This year, the Colorado Foundation for Water Education Water Educator Network has also become a Host Institution and is hosting a facilitator workshop July 19-20 on the Western Slope in Carbondale. You can visit https://www.yourwatercolorado.org/water-educator-network/training-topics/project-wet to find a workshop near you, or become a member of the Water Educator Network for other upcoming workshops.
Kathy began her career in the water world in 2005, after obtaining a Bachelors in Fine Arts from the University of Colorado at Denver and investigating a variety of occupations. She is currently the Public Information/Education Officer for Central Colorado Water Conservancy District and loves teaching about water to kids and adults. She is a Project WET USA facilitator and CCWCD is a host institution for Project WET. She is Secretary for the Board of the Poudre Learning Center, a premier outdoor environmental education center. Kathy recently joined the Ag Committee for the Greeley Chamber of Commerce and is an active member of the Colorado Foundation for Water Education Water Education Network. She is also represents CCWCD on the Colorado Water Congress State Affairs Committee. Her main focus in water education is agriculture and groundwater use, but she also teaches water conservation, water management, water quality and all other topics.