Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn Thursday announced improvements are being made to its Watershed Education Program intended to give children in grades 6-12 a knowledge base on water-related issues in the hope they will become future community leaders.
The new water quality database and redesigned website will make it easier for teachers and students to collect and store data on mobile devices, allowing for real-time data entry at a stream site.
“To support Gov. Wolf’s priority for a government that works, it’s important to engage the next generation with the tools that they relate to,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “We’re making our Watershed Education Program mobile-friendly so it’s easier for students to collect data to learn about water -- our most precious resource -- so that they understand its connection to weather, climate, energy and public health, and work to conserve and protect it.”
Developed by the Bureau of State Parks, the program blends hands-on classroom and field investigations modeled on professional research methodologies so students participate in data collection and analysis; community networking and partnerships; stewardship; and service learning activities.
The curriculum includes lessons that incorporate life and physical sciences, mathematics, geography, history, and language arts skills.
“Pennsylvania’s streams tell a story of wildlife that lives along muddy banks or hide in quiet pools, and of people who make their homes in its basin, quench thirst from its waters, harness its power, irrigate crops, or enjoy it for recreation,” Dunn said.“These streams provide a wonderful educational resources for students and teachers, and studying them builds a sense of stewardship and creates positive partnerships between schools and communities.”
The new website complements the Watershed Ed curriculum and offers an updated library of educational resources:
— A calendar of upcoming professional development teacher workshops in Pennsylvania state parks;
— Water-related resources for educators (such as printable maps and charts);
— Background information on Pennsylvania streams;
— Information on physical, chemical, and biological water testing;
— Resources for creating classroom and student watershed portfolios;
— WE Teacher Workshop email distribution list enrollment; and
— Access to the new database.
The database provides online, interactive storage for classroom water quality data (conditions, physical, chemical, and biological). The online database automatically calculates a stream’s volume of flow and a stream’s water quality diversity rating.
In the future, teachers will be able to analyze and share their data using interactive charts and graphs.
The Watershed Education Program is offered in 54 Pennsylvania state parks -- highlighted on this map.
Teachers looking to participate in Watershed Ed’s workshops and other professional development opportunities should visit the website Calendar of Events or contact Environmental Education Program Coordinator Carissa Longo by sending email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-772-1807.To learn more, visit DCNR’s Watershed Education Program website.