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Updated: 3 weeks 6 days ago

#AstroFriday: How Does Being In Space Impact How You See Water on Earth?

Fri, 2018-02-09 15:09

This week's #AstroFriday question is about how Ricky's time in space has affected his views about water on Earth.

Project WET: Based on your experiences in space now and on your first mission, have you changed how you use water, or do you plan to when you return to Earth?

Astronaut Ricky Arnold: My attitudes about where water comes from have certainly changed, and that is something I'll continue to share when I get back. With so many communities around the world suffering from a lack of potable water, we'll all need to continue to work to overcome our understandable bias against water from sources such as urine-processing.

Q&A in Pictures


#AstroFriday: How Is Water Used Differently in Space?

Fri, 2018-02-02 15:30

The #AstroFriday question for this week is about how astronauts use water in space.

Project WET: What are the most challenging things that you have to do in space with less or even no water? Is water used differently in space than on Earth?

Astronaut Ricky Arnold: Our water processing equipment turns urine, condensation, and collected perspiration into very pure drinking water. It is complex equipment in a harsh environment. We spend a lot of time maintaining and, when needed, repairing this equipment that is absolutely vital to our survival. We don't take any water for granted on the space station.


Q&A in Pictures



#AstroFriday: How Has Water Changed Over Time?

Fri, 2018-01-26 11:02

Today's #AstroFriday question is about observing changes in water over time from the vantage point of space.

Project WET: What changes over time, if any, will you be looking for in water features on Earth during your time on the International Space Station?

Ricky Arnold: Our water resources on Earth will continue to be affected by climate change. I hope to be able to share some of the changes we have observed since the space station began flying seventeen years ago.

Q&A in Pictures


Using Project WET to "Change the World"

Wed, 2018-01-24 10:12

Our partners at Levi Strauss & Co. were honored last fall by being named to the Fortune Change the World list. The list recognizes 50 companies who are "using the profit motive to solve a multitude of societal problems". It was LS&Co.'s first appearance on the list, and the editors specifically called out Levi's "Worker Well-being" program. As the LS&Co. Unzipped blog explained, Worker Well-being is designed to improve the lives of "the millions of people who work in the factories that make the clothes we wear, giving them the tools to thrive at work and beyond." Project WET activities are embedded in the Worker Well-being program, as well in as the company's overall sustainability plan.

After being named to the Fortune list, LS&Co. decided to go a step further to recognize the important role that employees played in bringing about the honor. They offered their employees a chance to explain how they would change the world--and gave them the opportunity to receive up to $5,000 to turn their idea into reality. This week, the five grant winners were announced and profiled. Of the five, two specifically mentioned how Project WET worked into their plans. That level of excitement among LS&Co. employees for the program is thrilling. 

Members of the Levi's Service Corps lead Project WET activities as part of the Worker Well-being program Dominique Durward of South Africa, whose work will be profiled in an upcoming blog post, will use her funds in partnership with Tomorrow Trust. Dominique will work with girls at the Ukhozi Girls Club "to build confidence, combat fear and give them the courage to dream and reach their aspirations." (Ukhozi is the Zulu word for "eagle".) She told Unzipped that she had gotten to know the group through her 2016 Project WET training. 

Oregon's Teresa Pfaff plans to use the Project WET curriculum to teach about water and hygiene in combination with installing sanitation stations for people who are homeless, so that they "have a place to go and clean up on a daily basis, helping to prevent the spread of Hepatitis A."

Congratulations to all five of the grant winners, and best of luck changing the world!

#AstroFriday: Astronaut Ricky Arnold Tackles Your “Water in Space” Questions

Fri, 2018-01-19 11:33

Ricky Arnold (Photo by NASA) This March, Astronaut Ricky Arnold will return to space, this time for a six-month stint on the International Space Station. A former science teacher, Ricky will be taking part in NASA’s Year of Education on Station initiative, sharing his love of STEM and passion for teaching.

Before beginning his final launch preparations, Ricky agreed to answer eight questions about water and space for Project WET educators. The questions were gathered from Project WET coordinators around the world and range from the practical to the highly theoretical. We’ll be featuring one question per week on our blog and social media until Ricky’s launch. Follow along using the #AstroFriday hashtag to see all the questions and answers!

As part of the Year of Education on Station, NASA has also developed STEM activities related to the station and its role in NASA’s journey to Mars. K-16 teachers can do these activities with their students by checking out NASA’s website. While on the ISS, Ricky will take part in “STEMonstrations”, educational demonstrations highlighting specific topics—including water. Project WET will be working on a lesson plan to complement some of these resources. NASA has established the hashtag #TeacherOnBoard to follow for the latest information about ways educators and students can interact with the International Space Station. 

Here's today's #AstroFriday question and answer:

Ricky on a 2009 mission (Photo by NASA) Project WET: How does being in space change the ways you look at and think about water?

Ricky Arnold: In a spacecraft, water is one of our most precious resources. It is heavy to launch, technologically challenging to purify, and far too valuable to waste. Some of the greatest engineering advances we have made on the International Space Station have been centered on recycling water. We are not at 100 percent yet, but we are getting close. Since Earth is essentially a spacecraft (a tectonically active one), the challenge is the same - as the number of crewmembers continues to grow, so does the demand for potable water.

Finally, water is a remarkable, polar molecule that makes life on Earth possible. We don't really appreciate the polarity of water so much here on Earth because of the impact of gravity on most water we observe. In space, however, we can see water assuming wild shapes and behaving in ways driven almost totally by its polarity.

Q&A in Pictures



Project WET’s Top 17 in 2017

Tue, 2017-12-19 12:22

From the Vatican to Papua New Guinea, Kentucky to California, 2017 was full of exciting people and places engaged in water education using Project WET. The following curated list offers the 17 most important stories for Project WET in 2017, told chronologically. To see all the year’s news, you can check out our media page. Happy holidays, and all the best in 2018!

Some 25 Ecolab employees were trained to use Clean and Conserve in Monheim, Germany 1. Ecolab Volunteers in Germany Launch Clean and Conserve with Festival for 100 Students: A hundred students from a local primary school attended the first Clean and Conserve water festival held in Germany. The event—which followed a training for 25 Ecolab employees to lead the festival—marked the launch of the German-language version of the Clean and Conserve Education Program.

2. Lessons from the Headwaters: A pilot partnership between the city of Bozeman and the Project WET Foundation has significantly increased public awareness of both stormwater management and water conservation by targeting young people with interactive, science-based activities about stormwater.

3. Farming and Teaching Family’s Donation Funds New Water, Agriculture and Food Publication for Kids: About 80 percent of people in the United States live in urban areas today, meaning kids are less likely to have a personal connection with agriculture—and therefore may have little understanding about how water relates to food. To help address this knowledge gap, the Project WET Foundation is developing a new "Water, Agriculture and Food" children’s activity booklet.

St. Peters Square, Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0 4. On World Water Day 2017, Project WET Advocates for Water Education at the Vatican: Project WET participated in WATERSHED, a series of events streamed live from the Vatican on World Water Day. WATERSHED was launched following a Papal Audience with Pope Francis and included Project WET water education resources.

5. Educators in Papua New Guinea Tackle Water Issues With New Project WET Materials: Some 20 local educators learned new ways to teach kids about water using a Project WET module customized for Papua New Guinea. The new booklet has seven activities covering a variety of water topics, including the water cycle, water quality, watershed protection and water, sanitation and hygiene.

Ricky Arnold (Photo by NASA) 6. Project WET Board Member Chosen for 2018 International Space Station Crew: Ricky Arnold is among five NASA astronauts who have been assigned to upcoming spaceflights. Arnold, a Project WET Foundation Board of Directors member since 2011, will join another NASA astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut for International Space Station Expeditions 55 and 56 to launch in March 2018. 

7. Members of Levi’s Service Corps use Project WET activities to engage with factory in Mexico: Project WET staff took part in the Levi Strauss & Co. Service Corps program in Mexico in April. The program is designed to teach LS&Co. employees about the work and lives of the people who make Levi’s products. Approximately 14 local school teachers, 15 LS&Co. employees and five factory staff were trained to teach students about water using Project WET activities about water conservation and water, sanitation and hygiene.

Fulton Elementary School, in of San Diego, California, won the grand prize for a water conservation project 8. LS&CO. Celebrates Schools That Save Water: In 2016, Levi Strauss & Co., Scholastic and the Project WET Foundation delivered water impact education to around 1.5 million U.S. elementary school children. As part of the curriculum, students had the opportunity to bring a water-saving idea to life at their own school via an entry sweepstakes. Over 800 entries were received! Fulton Elementary School, in of San Diego, California, won the grand prize.

9. Teaching Children to Protect Water: A Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA) employee, Heather Hess, has taken time each year since 2015 to organize a World Water Day festival using Project WET activities at the NWNA headquarters office in Stamford, CT.

10. Engaging Kids in Need and Giving Back to the Community: Rob Griffith, a Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA) employee who grew up a child in need, is now using Project WET to teach kids in urban, low-income schools about water. In addition, he has also helped nurture an innovative partnership with local law enforcement to incorporate water education into community events.

11. Getting Little Feet Wet Garners Awards and Recommendations: Project WET’s new water education guide for early childhood educators has been officially endorsed by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). In addition, Independent Publisher magazine has selected the new guide for a Moonbeam Children’s Book award.

Angie Olaya has trained people from many different backgrounds to use Project WET 12. Changing Perspectives About Water: Angie Olaya, a facilitator in Colombia, says that Project WET has helped her educate all kinds of people about the importance of water, creating new spaces to implement activities and initiating new educational programs, in companies, universities, business organizations, and more schools and water utilities.

13. Outdoor educator and Americorps Volunteer Teaches Thousands About Water: A California educator named Ian Taylor has attended four Project WET trainings in three different states. He says Project WET has helped him in his career as an outdoor educator, during which he estimates he has reached several thousand people.     

14. Ecolab’s E3 Group Recognized as WaterStars: E3 is an employee resource group at Ecolab focused on empowering, engaging and energizing Ecolab to measurably accelerate the advancement of women leaders to drive business growth. The community outreach committee within E3 has held three successful Clean and Conserve events with one more planned with a local STEM magnet school later this year.

Jason Vanzant is dedicated to providing hands-on experiences for his students 15. Whetting Kids’ Appetites for STEAM: A teacher from North Carolina, Jason Vanzant, has been using Project WET in the brand-new science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) lab he has been developing with the help of a grant from Lowe’s Education Toolbox.        

16. Water Education TV Launches: This fall, Project WET launched a new video series called Water Education TV. The episodes are designed to help educators of all kinds bring common water topics into their classrooms in fun, hands-on ways.

17. Complete NGSS Correlations Now Available for Guide 2.0: All 64 activities in the Project WET Curriculum and Activity Guide 2.0 have been fully correlated to the Next Generation Science Standards. The NGSS are designed to ensure that all students have a solid K–12 science education that prepares them for college and careers. Educators can now use Project WET activities to move toward that goal.

Environmental Education Matters—Now and in the Future

Wed, 2017-12-13 14:52

Environmental Education: A Strategy for Today and Tomorrow’s World as it appears on the Pisces Foundation website David Beckman, president of the environmental philanthropy, the Pisces Foundation, offered a manifesto of sorts for those of us involved in environmental education in a recent blog post. Drawing from his own experiences as a young boy who attended a school in Philadelphia with abundant access to the natural world, Mr. Beckman explains how his experiences in nature shaped his work as an advocate for the environment. He draws a direct line between the time he (and others) spent in nature as children and a commitment to environmental stewardship, asserting that environmental education “teaches children, from the earliest ages, to be good stewards of our environment.” He also lists out a compendium of other benefits of environmental education:


“We know now that environmental learning sticks with kids more than traditional learningfuels interest in science, and sparks the curiosity that makes kids better learners, including in math and the language arts. It also improves health and wellness, because play outdoors improves children’s mental and physical healthEnvironmental education strengthens children’s self-esteem, leadership, and character, and enhances social justice by leveling the playing field across genders and ethnicities.”


The millions of educators who use Project WET have long recognized that water education teaches students about more than the water cycle, wetlands or whatever individual water topic an activity covers. With hands-on, interactive methods that often work best in nature, Project WET activities offer educators the chance to positively impact their students’ lives and future choices with lessons they teach today. It’s a pleasure to see environmental education in the spotlight, acknowledged for its role in creating a society more aware of the world around them. As Mr. Beckman says, “While it doesn’t tell young people how to think, environmental education does teach kids to be better-informed members of their community.”

About the Pisces Foundation: The Pisces Foundation believes if we act now and boldly, we can quickly accelerate to a world where people and nature thrive together. Pisces mainstreams powerful new solutions to support innovators who know what it takes and are doing what’s necessary to have clean and abundant water, a safe climate, and kids with the environmental know-how to create a sustainable world. To learn more about Pisces’ work and collaborations visit http://piscesfoundation.org/:

(The above excerpt appears with permission from David Beckman and the Pisces Foundation but does not imply endorsement of the Project WET Foundation. To learn more about the Pisces Foundation, visit their website.)



Complete NGSS Correlations Now Available for Guide 2.0

Wed, 2017-12-13 11:21

According to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) website, the NGSS are designed to prepare U.S. students “to be informed citizens in a democracy and knowledgeable consumers.”  Developed by education leaders in 26 states, the NGSS assert that “all students must have a solid K–12 science education that prepares them for college and careers.” The standards were finalized in 2013 and have now been adopted by 18 states, plus the District of Columbia. Complete NGSS correlations are now available for all 64 activities in the Project WET Curriculum and Activity Guide 2.0 (Guide 2.0).

The original correlations for Project WET Curriculum and Activity Guide 2.0 were completed in 2011, based on the "Framework K–12 Science Education" that was created as a forerunner to the NGSS. After a complete review of Guide 2.0’s NGSS correlations after the new standards were released, reviewers determined that all of the activities should be re-correlated to reflect the final version of the NGSS. After more than two years of work, the process of re-correlating Guide 2.0 was completed earlier this year.

Project WET used three correlators familiar with both the NGSS and Project WET to correlate activities to the grade bands defined by NGSS. Correlators created a document for each grade band where the activities correlated to or supported a NGSS performance expectation (PE). The correlations were then reviewed by 25 science curriculum specialists across the United States, a few of whom helped to write the NGSS. Correlation documents were confirmed, edited and updated based on these reviews.

The result is 120 correlations documents for Guide 2.0 and 85 documents for Guide 1.0. Each correlation document offers detailed information on how activities meet each of the three dimensions of a given performance expectation.

The correlations are available to view in table format or in a detailed document describing how each activity addresses the three dimensions of the correlated NGSS performance expectations. Individual correlation documents for each activity are available on the Water Education Portal under the respective activity. Portal membership is included with Guide 2.0 after participation in a Project WET Educator Workshop. Contact the Project WET partner in your area for more information on available workshops.

New Episode of Water Education TV: Your Water Footprint

Tue, 2017-12-12 11:29

Looking for an easy, interactive way to help students think about their water use? Try the water footprint activity, shown here in the version from the Discover the Waters of Tennessee children's activity booklet, in the latest episode of Water Education TV!

Water Education TV: Your Water Footprint (Episode 5) from Project WET on Vimeo.

Nestlé Waters-Sponsored Festivals Reach More Than 6,000 People in 2017

Fri, 2017-12-08 13:42

Students gathered in McBee to learn about water For nearly 20 years, Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA) has been sponsoring water festivals across the United States and Canada. In 2017, 10 Make a Splash (MAS) and World Water Day festivals were held in eight U.S. states and one Canadian province. In total, some 130 volunteers from 9 NWNA plants helped reach 6,133 people with hands-on educational activities.

Organizers of the one of the festivals held in Poland Spring, Maine, reported that "presenters and exhibitors come from all over Maine, representing a wide variety of stakeholders concerned with water issues." At the other Poland Spring festival, which is held along a river, organizers noted that the location allows students to "conduct biological, chemical, and physical assessments of the river". Students at that festival also participated in water cycle education activities.

Students and parents competed in several events as part of the H2Olympics activity at the Guelph festival in Canada In Zephyrhills, Florida, NWNA plant volunteers served as group leaders and "led everyone in group cheers as they traveled from station to station." In Big Rapids, Michigan, some 270 area third graders attended this year’s festival, and all students and volunteers received t-shirts. In McBee, South Carolina, students "learned about the water cycle and how water quality affects living creatures", "took part in a relay competition that taught them about water scarcity, global water issues and the importance of conservation" and "learned about the important role water plays in the health of their body." In addition to NWNA volunteers, students from the McBee High School Chapter of Future Farmers of America helped lead the more than 75 fourth graders who took part in the event.

Poland Spring participants received free t-shirts as part of the festival In the Canadian province of Ontario, festival activities included a family-friendly H2Olympics competition as well as activities specially prepared for younger children. Fourth graders in Tennessee near NWNA's Red Boiling Springs plant took part in seven stations to learn about the water cycle, streams, hydration and other topics. All students received a copy of the Discover the Waters of Tennessee KIDs activity booklet. In Pennsylvania's Lehigh River Watershed, more than 1,200 students from three counties had the opportunity to visit 22 different activity stations.

Some festivals included special guests. The Pasco County Sheriff’s Mounted Patrol were a part of the Zephyrhills festival , while Dewey the Water Drop and the Lehigh Valley Beekeepers appeared at Pennsylvania festival. In Poland Spring, local police and firefighters showed up to take part.

Need Help Teaching Hydro-Dynamics?

Thu, 2017-11-30 13:26

The Human Water Cycle Lesson Plan is available now to download, free of charge This year's FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge is causing a lot of excitement among Project WET educators, and there's no mystery as to why: The theme is Hydro-Dynamics and the human water cycle. Here's how the organizers of the challenge describe it:

"Have you ever wondered how you get the water you use in your daily life? Whether it’s to brush your teeth, quench your thirst, cook your food, or even take a swim – all of us need water! Does it come from the ground, a river or a lake? How do you make sure it’s safe to drink, and what happens when it goes down a drain? In this season’s HYDRO DYNAMICS(SM) Robot Game, you’ll explore these questions and many more, and you’ll get to learn about the amazing engineering used to protect your most precious liquid asset – water!!"

In response to educator interest, we have developed a lesson plan to help teach about the fundamental water issues within the human water cycle. It is now available for free download from the Project WET store. We hope you'll use it and report back on how it goes. Good luck with this year's challenge!

Please note that this lesson plan is not endorsed by the FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge. It is simply a tool to help educators involved in the Challenge teach students about water by using engaging and hands-on activities. For more information about the FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge visit www.firstlegoleague.org/challenge.

Water Education Haiku: Arizona Project WET Adds the A to STEAM

Thu, 2017-11-09 12:35

The team at Arizona Project WET recently submitted this batch of water education haiku. What would your water education haiku be? Use the #wethaiku hashtag to submit your own haiku on social media. We'll share the results with the world!


9 years getting WET

Ground, rain, recycled water

Helping teachers grow


Love to engineer

STEM Curriculum writing

Education day


Teachers, kids, public

Students, teachers, volunteers

Learn about water


Activate learning –

Ask questions to prompt thinking

… and discovery.


Aqua STEM knowledge.

Systems thinking in parts.

Water is the whole.


Water efficiency savings

Inspiring students

Making a difference.


Educators, Kids

Coordinating logistics

Successful Program


Thinks about water

Web, curriculum, teaching

Hands in every pot

Find Arizona Project WET on Twitter at @AZProjectWETand Facebook at @ArizonaProjectWET.

How I Use Project WET: Teaching About Water and Training Employees from Kentucky to Cambodia

Thu, 2017-11-02 10:48

Dana Oliver is a senior procurement specialist at Levi Strauss and a member of the company's Service Corps of volunteers In his professional life as the senior procurement specialist for Levi Strauss & Co.’s U.S. Distribution Network, Dana Oliver is generally concerned with acquiring goods and services for the company’s distribution centers. However, since being a part of the LS&Co. Service Corps last year—an immersion program that allows selected LS&Co. employees to experience what life is like for apparel workers in the developing world—his work life has an added dimension: teaching. Dana is helping fulfill a goal set to train all of the employees in Levi’s distribution centers in the United States and Canada to teach about water and sustainability using Project WET.

Luckily, teaching is in his blood. “The teaching part of working with Project WET has been like second nature to me,” Dana said in a recent interview. “The family business I grew up around involves teaching kids, so when I found out that part of my work with the Service Corps in Cambodia was going to be in front of a classroom, I was excited.”

Dana and his fellow Service Corps members were trained along with five local teachers and five factory workers to teach kids in the classroom about water. The group then visited a school near the factory and taught students about water using hands-on, interactive lessons. The trip made Dana appreciate the water resources available to him in Kentucky, where he lives now, even more than he had before.

Dana traveled to Cambodia with the Service Corps to learn about the lives of factory workers and to teach about water “When you travel to a place like Cambodia, you see firsthand the struggles that people have just getting water,” Dana said. “Once they get it, they then have to treat it to be usable. It made me feel very fortunate to be where I am.”

The experience also inspired Dana to train his fellow employees to teach about water. “The vice president of our distribution global supply chain has committed to having everyone in our distribution network trained by the end of 2017,” Dana explained. “We have three distribution centers in the United States and one in Canada, and each center has multiple shifts. I’ve been traveling to these centers and training trainers to accommodate all the shifts.”

Dana said that trainer classes for each shift have attracted six to 10 people. Those trainers in turn are responsible for reaching the folks on their shifts. “I have now done trainings in all three of our U.S. distribution facilities in Kentucky, Mississippi and Nevada, as well as our center in Canada,” Dana said.

One thing he enjoys about teaching people to use Project WET are the varied reactions he gets to the activities. “Different people are interested in different activities and tasks,” Dana said. “Some people love ‘Drop in the Bucket’; others love ‘Water Footprint’ or ‘Blue Planet’. I always encourage them to share presenter duties. That way a person can become an expert on one activity.”

While training adults to use the activities has become a specialty for Dana, he said that he also loves to teach children about water, as he did in Cambodia.

“I really enjoy working with kids,” he said, adding that the activities are effective because “the material is relevant to everyone—everyone can walk away from the program with something positive.”

Dana noted that his passion for water education stems from the desire to help people understand how they can have a positive impact on the environment.

“If each of us does just one small thing for water conservation, it could make a huge difference,” Dana said. “I always try to hammer home that water is the most precious resource on the planet.”

LS&Co. has been sponsoring the Project WET Foundation since 2015. In 2016, company leaders made a commitment at the White House to use Project WET to train 100 percent of their employees about water and sustainability by the year 2020. To learn more about what LS&Co. and Project WET are doing together, check out these stories: