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Recycle and Reuse: Environmental Benefits of Water Recycling (Guest Post)

Tue, 2017-04-25 09:39

Earth in a water drop (Image credit: gruene-europa via Creative Commons) by Bob Gorman

Our world's resources are far from infinite. Water often seems to be abundant, but humanity is actually putting a great deal of strain on the available surface and groundwater water supplies. Our failure to conserve our water supply is causing droughts, dust storms, and other environmental problems that hurt both humanity and nature. The only way to minimize the situation from turning into a disaster is to start conserving and recycling water.

What is Water Recycling?

The water cycle ensures that used water will eventually work its way back into nature, but it doesn't always end up in reservoirs that we can access. Most humans get their water from rivers, lakes, or groundwater reservoirs. When we put those resources under heavy use, we often draw water from them faster than they can replenish themselves. When we take too much from a surface water source, we could disrupt the rate of recharge and cause the little streams that branch off from it to dry up. When we take it from a lake or from groundwater, we cause them to dry up. They will eventually recover, but only if humans stop drawing water from them.

Water recycling refers to strategies to reuse water beneficially to reduce the use of available natural water resources. Every drop of water that we recycle is a drop that we don't have to take from our limited water resources. At the simplest level, water recycling can mean harvesting rainwater in a barrel. More complex systems collect greywater, which is the slightly dirty water that is left over from washing and similar activities, and use it for irrigation, toilets, or other uses where complete purity isn't a concern.

How Does it Help?

Water recycling offers several benefits, both to us and to the world in which we live. The biggest benefit comes from preventing water shortages. That offers protection to the world's water resources, which would get drained to ensure that humans can continue to prosper while we run out of water. Recycling also ensures that we have enough water to grow crops, maintain our hygiene, and simply stay hydrated. Almost every aspect of human life uses water at some point, so running out could cause our entire civilization to collapse.

Recycling also helps to prevent pollution, especially in an industrial context. Many machines and appliances produce wastewater that carry some pollutants. If that water enters the environment without treatment, it can spread those pollutants across a surprising distance and give them a chance to kill plants and animals. Wastewater treatment and water recycling prevents the water from contaminating our rivers, lakes and groundwater.

The Future of Water Recycling

Right now, most people think of water recycling as an optional activity. People who care about the environment or want to save money on their water bill do it, but most other people are quite content to ignore the issue. That is likely to change in the future.

The demand for water is directly connected to both the number of people in the world and the standard of living that they want to maintain. The world's population is high and still climbing, so the demand for water is not going to drop any time soon. The developing world is also getting richer, and the increased desire for luxury products will keep increasing the amount of water that gets diverted to industry and inefficient forms of agriculture.

This means that we need to find other ways to conserve water. Recycling is not our only option, but it is one of the things that everyone can do to help. As the demand for water increases, the price of potable water is likely rise, and more people will recycle water. Even the people who don't care about the environment will start to recycle in order to save money.

Our purification technology is also improving. That will make water recycling even easier in the future, both on a large scale and at a personal level. That makes it seem likely that water recycling will play a large role in most water management systems in the future, especially if more people get started with it now.

Bob Gorman is a freelance writer from Melbourne, who likes writing articles that cover environment and sustainability related topics. He has written numerous articles and contributed to several other blogs. When he is not writing, he enjoys spending time on the beach with his family. Find Bob on Twitter at @bob_gorman82.

Members of Levi’s Service Corps use Project WET activities to engage with factory in Mexico

Fri, 2017-04-21 14:45

Panorama of one section of the factory floor in Mexico Ask someone what an apparel factory in the developing world looks like and you might not expect to hear airy and clean, but that was what Project WET Senior Program Manager Morgan Close found when she recently traveled to Mexico. She was meeting up with members of the Levi Strauss & Co. Service Corps—an immersion program that allows selected LS&Co. employees to experience what life is like for apparel workers—near the site of one of the companies that produces LS&Co. jeans to train employees and local educators to use Project WET.

“I was very surprised with how bright and open the factories were,” Morgan said.

Levi Service Corps members learned about some of the work that goes into making a pair of jeans by trying it themselves It wasn’t the only surprise of the trip, either. While learning about the process that it takes to go from raw denim to finished jeans, she found out that that a typical pair of 501 jeans is touched by about 125 people from start to finish in the production process.

“Seeing the time and process that goes into making a garment was really shocking,” Morgan said.

Morgan’s experiences with the Service Corps in Mexico taught her about the work and lives of the people who make Levi’s products. She also had a chance to teach, training 14 local school teachers, 15 LS&Co. employees and five factory staff to teach students about water using Project WET activities about water conservation and water, sanitation and hygiene.

Service Corps members helped kids understand how germs spread through the Human Knot activity “The LS&Co employees really enjoyed the activities and are excited to use them after the trip when they return to their home offices and communities,” Morgan explained. “Having local teachers involved in the workshop and student teaching was fantastic. The teachers were dedicated and provided essential information for the Service Corps members on how to work with the students. And the factory staff who participated are excited to teach the activities to all 5,000 of their employees.”

The newly trained Water Ambassadors got the chance to put their training into action right away by teaching local children about clean water and healthy hygiene habits using Project WET’s hands-on activities.

“We worked with about 400 students in grades one through six,” Morgan said. “Watching the LS&Co. and factory employees as well as the local teachers help children in the local community understand the importance of clean water was inspiring.”

About 400 students learned about clean water and healthy hygiene habits with Service Corps members In turn, Morgan said, factory workers and their families were able to share their life experiences with the Service Corps.

“They seemed to appreciate the opportunity to connect with LS&Co. employees about their work and homes,” she said.

The first Service Corps trip was in 2015, and past trip participants have traveled to Haiti, Cambodia and Sri Lanka. Future trips are already in the planning phase. Speaking to the company’s Unzipped blog, LS&Co.’s Alexis Bechtol, who manages the Service Corps, called it “an incredible program for some of our most engaged employees from around the world.”

“Whether directly or indirectly, everything our employees do day in and day out at LS&Co. has social and environmental sustainability woven into it,” she continued. “The LS&Co. Service Corps program ties all of these pieces together, giving employees a unique opportunity to see our innovative programs in action. They come back to their desks more engaged, thinking about how the decisions they make have a direct impact on the people in our supply chain.”

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:

Workshops in Shanghai and Guangzhou Help Students, NGOs and Ecolab Employees Make the World Cleaner and Healthier

Thu, 2017-04-06 08:17

Guangzhou workshop participants learned how germs can spread from person to person While the water conservation and hygiene education materials developed for the Clean and Conserve program are most often used in classrooms, participants in a recent workshop in Shanghai came up with another creative implementation idea: children’s parties. Project WET’s international projects assistant Allison Howe was in Shanghai for the workshop and reported that participants brainstormed using the “Do Knot Pass It Along” activity—a whole-body activity that emphasizes the importance of proper handwashing—at kids’ parties before passing out treats.

It was one of numerous creative ways the 25 workshop participants came up with as they discussed possible methods for scaling up the Clean and Conserve materials at one of two recent workshops held in China—one in Shanghai and one in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou.

Shanghai workshop participants played tag to discover how healthy hygiene habits can protect people from illness In Shanghai, about half of the attendees were Ecolab employees. Students and representatives from Project WET implementing partners Shanghai Roots and Shoots and other NGOs including the Alliance for Water Stewardship and The Nature Conservancy made up the remaining participants. Project WET Senior Vice President John Etgen also attended, working together with Allison to train at the Shanghai workshop before heading to Papua New Guinea for another educator workshop.

According to Allison, the Shanghai workshop attendees were overwhelmingly positive about the materials and the potential to use them with their communities.

“Many people noted how important the topics that Clean and Conserve covers are, especially in China,” she explained. “Water conservation is emphasized in China, in part because of its large population. Preventing germ transmission in areas of high population density is also a key lesson that these newly trained educators are hoping to share widely.”

Participants in Guangzhou included Ecolab employees as well as representatives from NGOs and universities Later, in Guangzhou, a sprawling port city northwest of Hong Kong, Allison trained another 25 participants to use Clean and Conserve. Five of the attendees were Ecolab employees, while the others represented organizations and universities in the region.

Among the NGO participants were representatives from Taiwan’s Guandu Nature Park, a Project WET partner since 2011. Sandra, a Guandu employee and seasoned Project WET educator, was able to lead the activity warm-up for “Healthy Natural Environments”. A local Ecolab employee, Candy, pitched in with a compelling demonstration of a soap molecule for the “Soap Science” warm-up.

In addition to discussions about water conservation, participants also examined how ocean water might be used to provide fresh water, Allison said. “The ‘Drop in the Bucket’ demonstration prompted a lot of conversation about using desalination,” she noted.

With approximately 50 new educators now implementing Clean and Conserve in China using the Chinese-language resources—adding to the dozens of others trained in previous workshops—the program is well underway not only in China but around the world. The Project WET Foundation and Ecolab are working to reach 2 million people with water conservation and hygiene education by the end of 2017.

Developed through the partnership between the Project WET Foundation and Ecolab, Clean and Conserve includes lessons, activities and other learning resources for children and youth ages three through 18, as well as educators. Visit the Clean and Conserve page to learn more. Originally published in English, Clean and Conserve materials are available in Chinese, Spanish for Mexico, German, French for Canada and Portuguese for Brazil (French and Portuguese materials are available for download from the English-language page).

Project WET Board Member Chosen for 2018 International Space Station Crew

Fri, 2017-03-31 10:47

Note: This press release is an adapted reprint of NASA press release Number 17-107, “NASA Announces Upcoming International Space Station Crew Assignments”.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ricky Arnold (Photo by NASA) Bozeman, Mont. – Project WET Foundation Board of Directors member Ricky Arnold is among five NASA astronauts who have been assigned to upcoming spaceflights. Arnold, along with Joe Acaba, Nick Hague, Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Shannon Walker, all have begun training for missions launching later this year and throughout 2018.

Arnold will join another NASA astronaut, Drew Feustel, and a Russian cosmonaut for International Space Station Expeditions 55 and 56 to launch in March 2018.

Acaba will be the first to launch, assigned to the Expedition 53 and 54 crews that already include Mark Vande Hei of NASA, and Alexander Misurkin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos. They will launch aboard a Soyuz spacecraft in September. Walker will train as a dedicated backup for Acaba. Arnold and Acaba’s assignments were enabled by the recent agreement to add additional crew members in 2017 and 2018 to boost space station science and research.

Ricky participated in a 2009 mission to the International Space Station (Photo by NASA) Arnold will be visiting the space station for the second time, but this trip will be much longer than his last. He also was selected in the 2004 class and flew with Acaba on STS-119. On that mission, he conducted two spacewalks, spending 12 hours and 34 minutes outside the space station.

Ricky took part in a 2007 undersea mission aboard the NOAA Aquarius Underwater Laboratory (Photo by NASA) Arnold was raised in Bowie, Maryland. He earned a bachelor’s degree in science from Frostburg State University, and a master’s degree in marine, estuarine and environmental science from the University of Maryland. He has taught school in Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Romania. He also served as an oceanographic technician for the U.S. Naval Academy and a marine scientist at the Cape Cod National Seashore. He joined the Project WET Foundation Board of Directors in 2011.

First-time fliers Hague and Auñón-Chancellor will fall into the standard rotation for NASA astronauts. Hague will launch in September 2018 on Expeditions 57 and 58 with two Russian cosmonauts. Auñón-Chancellor will join the Expedition 58 and 59 crews in November 2018, along with Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques and a Russian cosmonaut.

“It’s great to get to announce so many assignments at once,” said Chris Cassidy, chief of the Astronaut Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “There’s plenty of work to be done at the space station, and the research opportunities are almost limitless. These folks are all going to do great work and bring a lot of value to their crewmates.”

When not training for missions, Ricky has traveled to Montana for annual PWF Board of Director retreats Between now and their launches, each of the astronauts will undergo a busy regimen of training on space station systems and the experiments they’ll work with while in space.

“The addition of these extra crew members will be a boon to the entire scientific community doing research on station, and especially those who have been waiting for access to the platform” said Julie Robinson, NASA’s chief scientist for the International Space Station. “We’ll be capable of undertaking more complex research activities, which will in turn prepare NASA for the journey to Mars, unearth new markets for research in microgravity and deliver benefits back to Earth.”

Arnold and the other astronauts selected will join a long and distinguished line of astronauts who have crewed the International Space Station since November 2000. With the help of the more than 200 astronauts who have visited, the space station enables us to demonstrate new technologies and make research breakthroughs not possible on Earth. Its convergence of science, technology and human innovation provide a springboard to NASA's next giant leap in exploration.

Follow Ricky Arnold on Twitter for more about his mission preparation.

 

 

 

Educators in Papua New Guinea Tackle Water Issues With New Project WET Materials

Thu, 2017-03-30 11:03

Local educators included not only classroom teachers but also corporate volunteers Some 20 local educators—primary and secondary classroom teachers in public and private schools, corporate volunteers, government officials and NGO representatives—have learned new ways to teach kids about water using an education module customized for Papua New Guinea. A two-day workshop introduced educators to the new booklet, which has seven activities covering a variety of water topics, including the water cycle, water quality, watershed protection and water, sanitation and hygiene. And according to Project WET Senior Vice President John Etgen, who traveled to Papua New Guinea to conduct the training, the newly trained educators are excited to start using the new resource.

Educators learned to use the new module during a two-day training workshop “The feedback from educators about the new materials has been extremely positive,” John said. “They found the activities highly engaging, with science concepts that are clear thanks to being taught in an interactive way. Several educators told me that they can’t wait to teach kids about water with the new module.”

Map of Papua New Guinea courtesy of the PCL Map Collection at the University of Texas at Austin The workshop trained educators to work with different grade levels of students and to implement the activities into their curriculum. There was also a train-the-trainer component that will allow the program to grow beyond its initial implementation in the West New Britain Province. Held in Kimbe, the capital of West New Britain, the workshop was sponsored by New Britain Palm Oil Limited (NBPOL), a company that produces palm oil products. NBPOL also sponsored the module’s creation.

John with some of Papua New Guinea's younger generation, the next generation of leaders The program’s initial roll out will occur in West New Britain, with the long-term plan to scale up the program in the other four provinces of Papua New Guinea in which NBPOL operates. The island nation of Papua New Guinea is home to many important aquatic ecosystems, including the bay on which Kimbe sits, which boasts more than 60 percent of the coral species of the entire Indo-Pacific. The country also faces significant water challenges. A 2016 report from the nonprofit Wateraid singled out Papua New Guinea as having the world’s poorest access to clean water, with 60 percent of the population living without a safe water supply. Moreover, a changing climate is leading to a host of water-related problems, including rising sea levels.

In a letter in the introduction to the new Papua New Guinea Activity Guide for Educators, NBPOL Sustainability Manager for West New Britain Peter Callister said that the company “understands that to achieve true sustainability, NBPOL needs to extend its principles and influence outside of the operations into the wider community.”

“An important way to [achieve sustainability] is through the education of the younger generation, as they will grow to be the next generation of leaders and users of the environment in which we operate,” Callister said. “As such, we are excited to endeavor on this partnership with the Project WET Foundation to provide the latest in water and watershed management education material for teachers, with the hope that this information enables communities within the provinces that NBPOL operates to make informed management practices and choices with one of our most valuable resources.”

Interactive exhibit unveiled on World Water Day will teach more than 50,000 students in Shanghai about water

Wed, 2017-03-22 15:33

Kids in Shanghai attended the launch of a new interactive water education exhibit A new partnership established by Project WET Foundation global sponsor Nestlé Waters will allow 50,000 students to take part in an interactive water education exhibit during the next month. Nestlé Waters, the China National Maritime Museum in Shanghai and the Shanghai Ministry of Education, under the umbrella of the Project WET Foundation, launched the new exhibit on World Water Day, March 22nd.

Project WET Senior Vice President John Etgen attended and spoke at the launch event Project WET Senior Vice President John Etgen and International Projects Assistant Allison Howe were on hand at the World Water Day kick-off event, which featured speeches from representatives of the Ministry of Education and the Maritime Museum. The CEO of Nestlé Waters China, David Sauder, also addressed the crowd.

Approximately 150 students and 10 teachers took part in the day’s activities which included Project WET activities such as “Blue Planet”, “Incredible Journey” and “8-4-1, One for All”. The interactive displays include teaching methods taken from Project WET activities. The video below shows a variation on the classic "Blue Planet" activity, which uses probability to help learners understand the percentage of the Earth's surface that is covered by water or land. Where the original activity has learners tossing a globe back and forth, this large plastic globe spins while the visitor tosses suction cups at it. The "Incredible Journey" activity has been converted to more permanent stations representing nine parts of the water cycle--oceans, clouds, rivers, ground water, lakes, animals, glaciers, soil, plants--which learners visit based on the different places water can go as it moves through and around Earth. The bracelets, as shown by one of the Maritime Museum staff, remain the same, providing a takeaway that shows each person's "incredible journey" through the water cycle. "Aqua Bodies", which helps learners understand the amount of the human body that is made of water as well as what water does in the body, also got an exhibit version.

The Incredible Journey activity, exhibit version

The exhibit version of Aqua Bodies

On World Water Day 2017, Project WET advocates for water education at the Vatican and launches a new guide for early childhood educators

Wed, 2017-03-22 08:00

Guy Ryder, the chair of UN-Water, recently said of World Water Day, “Do what you can, do it with others, and do it with passion.” The Project WET Foundation is heeding that call on World Water Day 2017 and every day, working to raise awareness about water and encourage individual and collective action to protect and conserve water resources.

First, at the Vatican, Project WET Foundation President and CEO Dennis Nelson will witness Pope Francis inspire a global conversation that will help shift how the world values and understands its single most precious resource: water.

St. Peters Square (Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0.) Dennis is participating in WATERSHED, a series of events that will be streamed live from the Vatican on World Water Day. Dennis is in Rome to advocate for the role of water education in solving the world's complex water issues. WATERSHED will be launched immediately following a Papal Audience with Pope Francis and will be streamed live on Facebook starting at 10:30 a.m. CET on March 22nd. (Visit http://facebook.com/valuesofwater to view the live stream.)

Project WET’s participation in WATERSHED is part of #MyWaterStory, a global social media conversation leading up to WATERSHED and other water-related efforts hosted by the Vatican. The #MyWaterStory campaign, developed by graduate students from Ball State University’s Center for Emerging Media Design & Development (EMDD) in conjunction with leading journalists and scientists from Circle of Blue, seeks to encourage discussion about the values and value of water. Project WET has shared its award-winning water resources education materials and worldwide network of partners to encourage involvement in the #MyWaterStory campaign.

WATERSHED’s line-up of inspirational speakers, scientists, youth, and business leaders will be live-streamed from the Vatican for a globally connected audience that is invited to digitally share stories of their struggles, their hopes and their fears about the world’s water supplies. This audience will bring new voices, content, stories, art, media and workable solutions to light.

Meanwhile, back in the United States, Project WET will celebrate World Water Day with a brand-new resource to help young children understand the value of water. Developed in coordination with early childhood experts and educators, Getting Little Feet Wet contains 11 interactive, engaging activities. Getting Little Feet Wet allows young learners to explore many different aspects of water-from water's unique properties and states, to water in music, art and history. Each activity has different, age-appropriate suggestions to suit both Pre-K and K-2 learners and is correlated to educational standards.

From discovering what sinks or floats to observing how water helps plants grow, children are natural-born water scientists. Getting Little Feet Wet helps early childhood educators appeal to young children’s curiosity about the world around them while also emphasizing the importance of water.

Organized around Project WET’s Water Literacy Principles, Getting Little Feet Wet is correlated to standards from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the North American Association of Environmental Educators (NAAEE), as well as the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework. The K-2 activity options have also been correlated to Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

The digital version of Getting Little Feet Wet is available today, and those who purchase the download will be able to access suggested resources, specific materials and additional links with a simple click. Print versions of the new book will be available later this spring. To purchase Getting Little Feet Wet, visit the Project WET Store.

Guide Launching on World Water Day Helps Early Childhood Educators Teach About Water

Tue, 2017-03-21 08:44

FOR RELEASE: March 21, 2017

BOZEMAN, Mont. – From discovering what sinks or floats to observing how water helps plants grow, children are natural-born water scientists. Launching on World Water Day, March 22nd, Getting Little Feet Wet is a new resource that helps early childhood educators appeal to young children’s curiosity about the world around them while also emphasizing the importance of water. Developed by the Project WET Foundation, the world leader in interactive, science-based water resources education, Getting Little Feet Wet offers hands-on, field-tested activities that allow young learners to explore water in fun, age-appropriate ways.

“We know from talking with people within the Project WET USA Network—partner organizations across the United States that train tens of thousands of educators each year to teach about water—that demand for a water education guide specifically for teachers working with young children is high,” said Project WET Foundation President and CEO Dennis Nelson. “Early childhood educators are eager to help children understand water, especially in ways that get kids excited about learning, nature and science. Getting Little Feet Wet makes all of that possible.”

Developed in coordination with early childhood experts and educators, Getting Little Feet Wet contains 11 interactive engaging activities that allow young learners to explore many different aspects of water—from water’s unique properties and states, to water in music, art and history. Each activity has different, age-appropriate suggestions to suit both Pre-K and K-2 learners.

Organized around Project WET’s Water Literacy Principles, Getting Little Feet Wet is correlated to educational standards, including those from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the North American Association of Environmental Educators (NAAEE), as well as the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework. The K-2 activity options have also been correlated to Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

The digital version of Getting Little Feet Wet will be available for purchase on World Water Day, a UN-designated observance held every year on March 22nd to raise awareness about water and encourage action to protect and conserve water resources. Those who download the digital version of Getting Little Feet Wet will be able to access suggested resources, specific materials and additional links with a simple click. Print versions of the new book will be available in late April. To learn more about Getting Little Feet Wet, visit http://www.projectwet.org/earlychildhood. To purchase the digital book, visit the Project WET Store. Pre-orders are being accepted for the print version here.

Project WET Foundation President and CEO To Participate in World Water Day Events at the Vatican

Mon, 2017-03-20 11:52

FOR RELEASE: March 20, 2017

Bozeman, Mont. – On World Water Day 2017, Pope Francis will inspire a global conversation that will help shift how the world values and understands its single most precious resource: water. WATERSHED will be launched on March 22nd immediately following a Papal Audience on Piazza San Pietro. WATERSHED will be the first in a series of programs and activities slated for the next five years. Project WET Foundation President and CEO Dennis Nelson has been invited to join in the event and to advocate for the role of water education in solving the world’s complex water issues. WATERSHED will be streamed live on Facebook starting at 10:30 a.m. CET.

Dennis is attending WATERSHED as part of Project WET’s work with #MyWaterStory, a global social media conversation leading up to WATERSHED and other water-related efforts hosted by the Vatican. The #MyWaterStory campaign, developed by graduate students from Ball State University’s Center for Emerging Media Design & Development (EMDD) in conjunction with leading journalists and scientists from Circle of Blue, seeks to encourage discussion about the values and value of water. Project WET has shared its award-winning water resources education materials and worldwide network of partners to encourage involvement in the #MyWaterStory campaign.

Following the General Audience with Pope Francis, an exceptional amalgam of people from every walk of life and every corner of the globe will initiate an extraordinary exchange of ideas around the global water crisis. Experiences will be shared, opinions formed, and solutions presented. The objective is to align global perception with the immediate reality that water is the trigger for unrest and instability, as well as an opportunity for resolution and collaboration.

WATERSHED’s line-up of inspirational speakers, scientists, youth, and business leaders will be live-streamed from the Vatican for a globally connected audience that is invited to digitally share stories of their struggles, their hopes, and their fears about the world’s water supplies. This audience will bring new voices, content, stories, art, media and workable solutions to light.

Visit Facebook.com/valuesofwater starting at 10:30 a.m. CET on March 22, 2017 to view the live stream.

WaterStar: Beautiful Minds Ethiopia

Mon, 2017-03-13 10:48

This is the latest in a series of posts highlighting people and organizations around the world that embody the ideals of the Clean and Conserve Education Program: making the world a safer and healthier place through water conservation and hygiene education. WaterStars will receive printed copies of each book as well as enamel WaterStar pins to recognize their work. Any individual or organization that has used Clean and Conserve materials is eligible for consideration to be a WaterStar award winner. Submit your story to learn more.

A small social enterprise in Ethiopia is using the Clean and Conserve Education Program to combine education and action, with the goal of improving kids’ health. Beautiful Minds Ethiopia focuses on encouraging healthy behaviors, particularly around environmental and hygiene issues, with children in public schools and day care centers in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. At the same time, the emerging social enterprise is working to recycle leftover soaps from hotels and provide schools and families to proper hand washing easier and more affordable.

Biniyam Solomon of Beautiful Minds Ethiopia told us about the organization’s activities and how Clean and Conserve has helped them in their work.

“We provide behavioral change trainings to school administrators as well as the children themselves. We also recycle leftover soap from hotel and spas and provide it to school children for hand washing. There are various organizations working to change hygiene behaviors, but purchasing soap remains a hardship for poor families. We are trying to fill this gap between organizations and individuals that are working to improve hygiene behavior and the families who cannot afford soap,” Biniyam said. “We are using Clean and Conserve in our hygiene and hand washing campaigns. We appreciate that the graphics are so international and can fit many cultures and colors.”

Biniyam noted that Clean and Conserve has helped them recruit student and community leaders to assist in school’s hygiene improvement programs.

“We are working in five schools where each school has more than 2,000 kids,” Biniyam said. “It's the worst hygiene scenario that you can imagine. We have been able to use Clean and Conserve as part of our ‘hygiene champions’ training to recruit more hygiene ambassadors at the school and community level.”

In addition to teaching kids about proper hand washing and enabling that behavior with soap, Beautiful Minds Ethiopia is also using Clean and Conserve to teach children why hand washing is important. “Clean and Conserve helps kids understand what can happen when they eat with unclean hands,” Biniyam said.

The Clean and Conserve Education Program, developed through the partnership between the Project WET Foundation and Ecolab, includes lessons, activities and other learning resources for children and youth ages three through 18, as well as educators. Visit the Clean and Conserve page to learn more. Originally published in English, Clean and Conserve materials are also available in Chinese, Spanish for Mexico, German, French for Canada and Portuguese for Brazil (French and Portuguese materials are available for download from the English-language page). German-language materials will be available soon.

Other WaterStars:

Joseph Dabuo of Ghana (June 23, 2016)

Ashley Satterfield of the USA (July 20, 2016)

Supriya Khound of India (October 25, 2016)

Jamice Obianyo of the USA (January 19, 2017)

EECO Foundation of Pakistan (February 1, 2017)

 

Farming and Teaching Family’s Donation Funds New Water, Agriculture and Food Publication for Kids

Tue, 2017-03-07 12:01

Stan and Doris Griffin A hundred years ago, more than half of the U.S. population lived in rural areas. Kids raised in this environment learned from an early age how water was connected to food. When water was available, crops grew and livestock flourished. When water was scarce, the food their families depended on for both their own consumption and their livelihood was threatened.

Then as now, the link between water and food is inextricable. However, with about 80 percent of people in the United States living in urban areas today, 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 and address an issue critical to America’s Water Future, the Project WET Foundation is announcing a new "Water, Agriculture and Food" children’s activity booklet.

"Water, Agriculture and Food" is being developed thanks in part to a donation from Doris Griffin, in honor of her late husband, Stanley “Stan” Griffin, a North Dakota farmer, rancher and teacher. The Griffins actually met at a Project WET writing workshop in South Dakota, where both had been nominated by their peers as outstanding educators and for their longtime interest in water and science education. The gathering in the Black Hills helped generate ideas for water science teaching methods for potential inclusion in Project WET’s first Curriculum and Activity Guide.

Stan and Doris Griffin on their farm in North Dakota “Stan played an important role in the creation of Project WET when the original program was developed at the North Dakota State Water Commission,” Project WET Foundation President and CEO Dennis Nelson explained. “At the time, no one realized the water education materials created at the State Water Commission—with significant input from Stan and other teachers in developing, testing and using them across North Dakota—would one day be used by educators around the world.”

Dennis added that Stan loved helping other teachers learn about water and teaching new and creative instructional methods at Project WET workshops conducted around North Dakota. Stan was an enthusiastic and tireless volunteer instructor, and his and other teachers’ involvement as workshop leaders gave Project WET credibility with teachers.

“Stan enjoyed thinking of ways to educate children and others about water, not only from an academic point of view, but mostly because as a farmer and rancher, he dealt with water issues and challenges every day. This made Stan’s input and advice on the creation of the original Project WET instructional materials valuable, practical and relevant. You knew when Stan was talking about a subject like groundwater, his knowledge and stories were linked to real struggles to secure water from the well on the farm,” Dennis said.

Stan and Doris in 2004 Stan’s example of finding innovative ways to teach about water will be an important part of the development of "Water, Agriculture and Food", Project WET’s 61st such title in the Kids in Discovery series (KIDs) of children’s activity booklets. KIDs booklets employ interactive learning methods, colorful illustrations and independent or guided learning opportunities for children aged seven to 12.

“The 'Water, Agriculture and Food' KIDs booklet is intended for students and educators who may never have learned about what goes into growing and producing food,” Project WET Foundation Publications Manager Megan Regnerus said. “Young people need to understand how food gets to our grocery stores from other places and what we as a society will have to do to keep up with food demands as population increases. How water ties into these issues is critical to America’s Water Future.”

America’s Water Future is a public awareness and education campaign of the Project WET Foundation with a goal of helping people understand basic water science in the context of how water is used, managed and protected for the good of all water users. Project WET believes educating today’s children and youth is a positive first step in preparing them to address tomorrow’s water needs and challenges.  The "Water, Agriculture and Food" KIDs activity booklet is part of the America’s Water Future campaign. Doris’ donation serves as an example of how concerned people, agencies and corporations can get involved.

Domestic geese on the Griffin farm in North Dakota The 16-page booklet is not intended as an in-depth manual for those already immersed in agriculture, but as an introduction to the topic that will help students and all readers appreciate the vast amount of human effort, investment and ingenuity and cooperation by nature that is required to keep everyone fed three times a day, each and every day. In addition to the support from the Griffins, a survey of the Project WET USA Network ranked water and agriculture as their number one topic for a new KIDs booklet. The donation and the networks input together helped launch the project.

Further input from the USA Network helped identify content areas for the booklet, including: Feeding a Hungry World, Water Works for Agriculture, From Farm to Fork, Farmers’ and Ranchers’ Water Address, Risks and Challenges board game, A Historical Perspective, What’s on Your Shelf, and Our Water and Agriculture Future – Feeding the World in 2050.

“Doris’ support of the new 'Water, Agriculture and Food' KIDs activity booklet is a fantastic and fitting tribute to Stan,” Dennis said. “Stan knew the value and impact of education was not momentary, but lifelong. The new booklet will help youth across the USA and around the world better understand the challenges of feeding a hungry country and world from a water perspective.

The link between water and food is part of America’s Water Future. Find out how you can support education about how agriculture and food are connected as well as other vitally important water topics by visiting: http://www.americaswaterfuture.org.

New Mexico Schoolkids Discover Desalination at Festival

Wed, 2017-03-01 16:40

Erika Focht of the BOR helped students learn about the percentage of water on Earth with the Blue Planet activity This week, students from nine New Mexico schools had the chance to learn about desalination—the process of removing salt from water—at a research facility dedicated to the topic. Located in Alamagordo, in south central New Mexico, the Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Research Facility (BGNDRF) focuses on developing technologies for the desalination of brackish and impaired groundwater found in inland states. The federal Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation program also aims to educate people about water in general, and desalination in particular.

Project WET Foundation President and CEO Dennis Nelson traveled to Alamagordo to help with the Discover Desalination Festival—an event focused on outreach to young people from the surrounding area. Dennis and Bureau of Reclamation employee Erika Focht used classic Project WET activities such as "The Incredible Journey" to teach about the water cycle, "Drop in the Bucket" to explain the amount of available fresh water on Earth and "Blue Planet" to help visualize the percentage of Earth that is water.

Schoolkids learned about the water cycle using Incredible Journey The students rotated around seven learning stations, including the Project WET activities. Other topics included how freshwater gets salty, how undissolved solids are removed, how dissolved salts can be removed through reverse osmosis or electrical charges, how renewable energy can be used to remove salts and how to manage salty waste.

“The Discover Desalination team was amazing in their commitment to working with children, schools and the Alamogordo community and the staff,” Dennis said. “The activity stations were highly interactive, fun and full of new information. Based on the reactions from the kids, it was clear they loved the event.”

BGNDRF Facility Director Randall Shaw taught students about removing salt from water BGNDRF is also a new Project WET host institution and will be offering workshops and trainings in the future. Since 2007, BGNDRF has brought together researchers from other Federal government agencies, universities, the private sector, research organizations, and state and local agencies to work collaboratively and in partnership. Randall Shaw, the facility's director, describes its outreach goals this way:

“The goals of public outreach and education efforts are to increase interest in the field of water science and engineering, dispel myths about water, and promote understanding of the issues surrounding the decisions we all make in choosing where to obtain water and how we treat it on a personal level as well as the community and national level.”

Discover Desalination will be an annual event for local schools, underlining the importance and relevance of desalination to America’s Water Future. Project WET is exploring opportunities to create new education materials for children and teachers on desalination to extend outreach and impact to people across the country.

Making Handwashing Child-friendly (translation of Westdeutsche Zeitung article)

Fri, 2017-02-24 13:09

Westdeutsche Zeitung article screen capture Note: This is a translation of an article that appeared in Westdeutsche Zeitung, a large regional newspaper in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, on February 8th. The original article is available on the WZ.com website or as a screencap here.

By Sabine Schmitt

The flu is going around Monheim. Why? It is in part because not many people wash their hands correctly—though the concept is easy to teach, even to children.

Paula and Candela are 9 years old. They rub their hands with soap under the sink, singing and smiling. Their song sounds like the nursery rhyme “Are You Sleeping?” but the words are different—they’re about washing your hands.

The song is being taught by hygiene experts from the Ecolab team in Monheim, and knowing the lyrics to this tune could also help adults in this cold and flu season. Whoever sings this in their head or out loud, automatically washes their hands the right amount of time to wash bacteria and germs away.

Why is Ecolab helping children in Monheim learn to wash their hands correctly? The world’s leading provider of technology and services in the specialties of water, hygiene and energy, Ecolab has been working in the USA, Mexico and China to bring education about water, hygiene, and sustainability to children four years old and up since 2014. Ecolab and U.S. nonprofit organization the Project WET Foundation developed the Clean and Conserve Education Program together. Yesterday, the program in Monheim—and indeed throughout Germany—was officially launched, with 100 students visiting the Ecolab offices in Baumberg. Kids from the Armin-Maiwald school will come next.

Hygiene, germs, water, and sustainability sound like unwieldy themes to start off with, but they really aren’t. Twenty-five of the Ecolab’s 500 Baumberg employees volunteered to learn how to teach kids on these topics, how to make the lessons child-friendly and how to become official water and hygiene “ambassadors” for Ecolab.

For the employees, the lessons weren’t over after these students had left. They had already committed to continuing to teach children through these fun activities—voluntarily and outside of standard working hours.

Ecolab employee Tobias Personke is one such water and hygiene ambassador.

“I have kids myself. They are three and seven,” Personke said, adding that it was a personal issue for him to bring young people closer to the topics.

It is also because water is eternally valuable. That’s why Ecolab volunteers asked the students, “Do you have any ideas about how someone can save water?”

The kids knew this answer. “Shorter showers,” said one.

“Don’t leave the water running while brushing your teeth,“ said another.

Meanwhile in a big room where employees would otherwise hold meetings, the secret of how soap works to carry away germs was revealed—and naturally everyone would wash their hands. Was it fun to learn?

“Yes,“ said Paula and Candela. And did their hands get cleaned well?

“Yes,” and a simple test showed them the results: Paula and Candela held their hands under a UV-light that would make the “germs” visible. There wasn’t anything there.

Translation prepared by Katherine Morrison, Project Assistant intern

 

Ecolab Volunteers in Germany Launch Clean and Conserve with Festival for 100 Students

Thu, 2017-02-16 13:52

Some 25 Ecolab employees were trained to use Clean and Conserve in Monheim What’s the secret behind soap? How can water be conserved? And what is a watershed? A hundred students from a local primary school in Monheim am Rhein, Germany, found answers to their questions at the first Clean and Conserve water festival held in Germany this month. The event—which followed a training for 25 Ecolab employees to lead the festival—marked the launch of the Clean and Conserve Education Program in German.

Developed through a partnership between Ecolab and the Project WET Foundation, Clean and Conserve is designed to teach children ages four and older about the importance of water conservation and hygiene. After successful launches in the United States, Mexico and China, the interactive curriculum, activity booklets and materials are now available in German for use throughout Germany and other German-speaking regions.

A sign welcomed students to the water festival in Monheim “Water is one of the most valuable resources on earth,” said Ecolab’s Halit Kayatürk, SVP and Market Head, Germany & Switzerland. “Our personal water use and the way we live affect the lives of many others. The Clean and Conserve program aims to raise awareness and provide practical training for water conservation for students and teachers.”

During the event, children from the Monheim primary school became “WaterStars” by engaging in age-appropriate activities about hygiene and the use of water as a valuable resource. For example, when second- and third-graders were asked to think about what they had touched before arriving at Ecolab in Monheim, they named surfaces such as doorknobs and handrails—ideal homes for germs that can be passed to others through casual contact. During the water festival the students learned how to prevent the spread of those germs by washing their hands properly.

“By following simple hygiene measures such as washing hands properly, young children can effectively prevent the spread of germs, while saving water,” explains Thorsten Suess, one of the Ecolab volunteers from Monheim.

Students learned how to prevent the spread of germs by washing their hands properly Before the festival, Project WET Foundation staff trained Ecolab employee volunteers to become water and hygiene ambassadors. With the intent to make a difference in the areas where they live and work, the ambassadors can now visit more schools to show young people through playful, interactive activities how they can take action and contribute to a positive water future.

“The employees do this voluntarily in their free time, and the program is aligned with the schools and tailored to their specific needs,” said Morgan Close, Project WET’s senior international program manager. “The activities are designed to be easy to implement and to complement existing curricula.” Planning for the next Water Festival is already underway on World Water Day (March 22, 2017) when another local elementary school will be visiting Monheim to become WaterStars.

To download the Clean and Conserve materials in German, visit www.projectwet.org/cleanandconserve/de.

Germany is one of four target markets launching the Clean and Conserve Education Program. Designed to reach two million people with interactive water conservation and hygiene education by the end of 2017, Clean and Conserve can be used around the world. All materials in the program are available for download and use at no charge. To date, translations and customizations of all materials have been completed in English, Mandarin, German and Spanish for Mexico. The Activity Guide for Educators is also available in Portuguese for Brazil and French for Canada.

The Project WET Foundation's partnership with Ecolab is part of Ecolab's Solutions for Life program, which enhances the company’s work to conserve water and improve hygiene around the world through partnerships with leading NGOs, global philanthropy and employee volunteerism.

 

 

 

 

Project WET Supports #MyWaterStory, Vatican World Water Day Event With Education Materials

Mon, 2017-02-06 12:05

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 6, 2017

Bozeman, Mont. — The Project WET Foundation is sharing its award-winning water resources education materials and worldwide network of partners to encourage involvement in #MyWaterStory, a global social media conversation culminating in World Water Day activities hosted by the Vatican. The #MyWaterStory campaign, developed by graduate students from Ball State University’s Center for Emerging Media Design & Development (EMDD) in conjunction with leading journalists and scientists from Circle of Blue, seeks to encourage discussion about the values and value of water.

“It is an honor to be part of this global initiative to draw attention to water and the importance of knowledge and education as being part of addressing water challenges and opportunities,” said Dennis Nelson, the president and CEO of the Project WET Foundation. “Project WET’s action-oriented water education materials will inspire young people to be part of the worldwide dialogue that #MyWaterStory is generating.”

The #MyWaterStory campaign serves as a way to capture and filter responses to this global water conversation. Through the websites worldwatervalues.org and bluerootsproject.org, people from around the world will submit water stories using six water themes. Each theme includes prompts to respond to through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using the #MyWaterStory hashtag. The site encourages people to think about the value of water in their own lives and to respond with multimedia content, such as videos, audio recordings, tweets, photos, artistic work and more.

The website also includes a teacher resource page with links to free, downloadable education materials from Project WET for a global audience of K-12 educators who want to integrate discussions about the value of water and World Water Day into their lesson plans. EMDD and Circle of Blue worked with Project WET to offer the most appropriate resources, and materials include suggestions by age range. Project WET will also be enlisting their national and international networks of partner organizations to spread the word about the initiative.

The campaign focuses on resetting the understood value and values of water by creating new networks, generating inspiring stories, educating and engaging an international audience and heightening the urgency for action by policy makers, innovators and the public. The #MyWaterStory campaign culminates in a daylong event at the Vatican on World Water Day, an annual observation organized by the United Nations. “Watershed: Replenishing Water Values for a Thirsty World" will gather inspiring speakers, scientists, artists, storytellers, musicians and historians for live-streamed, interactive broadcast. Circle of Blue Co-founder & Director J. Carl Ganter also highlighted the project at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Contacts:

Nicole Rosenleaf Ritter, Communications Manager, Project WET Foundation

WaterStar: Environmental Education and Conservation Organization of Pakistan

Wed, 2017-02-01 16:55

This is the latest in a series of posts highlighting people and organizations around the world that embody the ideals of the Clean and Conserve Education Program: making the world a safer and healthier place through water conservation and hygiene education. WaterStars will receive printed copies of each book as well as enamel WaterStar pins to recognize their work. Any individual or organization that has used Clean and Conserve materials is eligible for consideration to be a WaterStar award winner. Submit your story to learn more.

A Project WET partner since 2016, the Environmental Education and Conservation Organization (EECO) of Pakistan has enthusiastically adopted the Clean and Conserve education materials as part of their varied work. Located in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, EECO is a nonprofit environmental organization working to conserve natural ecosystems, promote environmental education, energy conservation and climate change adaptability, and protect wildlife and habitats along to safeguard biological diversity. We asked the head of EECO, Asif Shafiq, to tell us more about what EECO does and how they are using Clean and Conserve as part of their efforts in youth education.

EECO uses Clean and Conserve materials to teach about water conservation and hygiene “We try to inspire youth from an early age to be advocates within their own families, schools and communities for healthy environments and conservation, so we use interactive mediums such as Theatre & Puppets and other forms of environmental art competitions to engage and educate school children about environment and how they can play their role in conservation,” Asif explained.

EECO uses this Green Bus as part of its educational programs Since first accessing the Clean and Conserve materials online through the end of 2016, EECO trained approximately 150 educators using not only the Activity Guide for educators but also the Water Science Project Guide. They also reached more than 9,000 students with water conservation and hygiene education.

“Our Green Bus travels to schools, universities and communities to conduct workshops, screen videos and conduct Clean and Conserve activities for underprivileged children,” Asif said. “Clean and Conserve has been a very useful resource because the activities don’t require a lot of setup, and teachers can easily be trained to use the activities as well.”

EECO volunteers visit classrooms to teach about water and the environment The Clean and Conserve Education Program, developed through the partnership between the Project WET Foundation and Ecolab, includes lessons, activities and other learning resources for children and youth ages three through 18, as well as educators. Visit the Clean and Conserve page to learn more. Originally published in English, Clean and Conserve materials are available in Chinese, Spanish for Mexico, French for Canada and Portuguese for Brazil (French and Portuguese materials are available for download from the English-language page). German-language materials will be available soon.

 

 

 

Other WaterStars:

Joseph Dabuo of Ghana (June 23, 2016)

Ashley Satterfield of the USA (July 20, 2016)

Supriya Khound of India (October 25, 2016)

Jamice Obianyo of the USA (January 19, 2017)

WaterStar: Jamice Obianyo of Ecolab

Thu, 2017-01-19 12:55

This is the latest in a series of posts highlighting people around the world who embody the ideals of the Clean and Conserve Education Program: making the world a safer and healthier place through water conservation and hygiene education. WaterStars will receive printed copies of each book as well as enamel WaterStar pins to recognize their work. Anyone who has used the Clean and Conserve materials is eligible for consideration to be a WaterStar award winner. Submit your story to learn more.

Jamice has worked with students on three continents, including these students from Mexico, using Clean and Conserve activities Thanks to Clean and Conserve, Jamice Obianyo has hundreds of new “nieces and nephews” around the world. And thanks to WaterStar Jamice Obianyo, all of those kids—plus hundreds of thousands of other children and adults—have been able to learn about water conservation and hygiene through the Clean and Conserve program.

The director of community relations for the Ecolab Foundation in St. Paul, Minn. (USA), Jamice has led Clean and Conserve from the Ecolab side since the program launched in December 2014 through a partnership between the Project WET Foundation and Ecolab. Her leadership and enthusiasm are helping propel Clean and Conserve toward the program’s ultimate goal: to empower two million people worldwide to conserve water and make the world a healthier place.

We talked to Jamice about why she took the leadership role within the program, what she has learned, and why she loves working with all her new “nieces and nephews”:

Project WET Foundation (PWF): What is your background at Ecolab, and how would you describe your role there today?

Jamice Obianyo (JO): For the past 18 years, I’ve worked in multiple job functions from RD&E, Marketing, Finance, Sales, and Community Relations leading teams whose primary purpose is to delight customers, develop innovative technologies and initiate continuous improvement for optimum efficiencies. My role today is all about creating greater global impact on philanthropic initiatives through grantmaking and strategic alliances.

Jamice traveled to Shanghai to take part in the launch festival there PWF: Why did you want to be involved in implementing the partnership between Project WET and Ecolab?

JO: My life passion is to help women, seniors, and children thrive! When I was asked to lead our Project WET global program for Ecolab, I immediately said YES! The global partnership between Ecolab and Project WET is a gateway to transform the lives of children all around the world through activity-based learning about water conservation and personal hygiene. Working with our internal teams globally to launch the Clean and Conserve program has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career. Together, our goal is to empower two million people worldwide to conserve water and make the world a healthier place.

PWF: What have been your most memorable experiences working on the Clean and Conserve program?

On a personal trip to Nigeria, Jamice shared the Clean and Conserve program with a local school JO: The most memorable experience has been seeing the “twinkle” in the eyes of children when they grasp the concept of our key learnings within our Clean and Conserve Education Materials. From China to Mexico to Nigeria to USA – I’ve seen beautiful children who are so excited to learn about how to protect Mother Earth and practicing healthy hygiene habits to protect themselves. I also love the fact that I now have hundreds of new “nieces and nephews” all around the world!

PWF: Why is educating people—especially young people—about water conservation and hygiene important to you personally?

Jamice spoke with kids at a St. Paul elementary school during the launch festival JO: At Ecolab, we are in the business of protecting what is vital: clean water, safe food, abundant energy and healthy environments. I am proud to work for a global company who partners with customers and communities to make the world a better place. To be successful, we must teach our children and we must nurture them to be the good stewards of the environment knowing they will lead the way.

I love my job and this partnership feeds my soul knowing together we are making a difference for future generations!! I consider it an honor and privilege that I will treasure forever.

 

Jamice was featured recently as a "Minnesotan To Meet" by WCCO:

The Clean and Conserve Education Program, developed through the partnership between the Project WET Foundation and Ecolab, includes lessons, activities and other learning resources for children and youth ages three through 18, as well as educators. Visit the Clean and Conserve page to learn more. Originally published in English, Clean and Conserve materials are available in Chinese, Spanish for Mexico, French for Canada and Portuguese for Brazil (French and Portuguese materials are available for download from the English-language page). German-language materials will be available soon.

Other WaterStars:

Joseph Dabuo of Ghana (June 23, 2016)

Ashley Satterfield of the USA (July 20, 2016)

Supriya Khound of India (October 25, 2016)

Find Project WET USA Partners on Social Media

Fri, 2017-01-13 11:52

With more than 70 partner organizations across the country, the Project WET USA Network trains tens of thousands of teachers to reach more than a million children each year with high-quality, interactive water education. Project WET partner organizations include state and municipal government agencies, utilities, colleges and universities, camps, nonprofit organizations, conservation districts and many other kinds of groups with an interest in educating people of all ages about water. Below is a list of social media accounts maintained by some of our partners. Click the links to connect with them.

Alabama

Cahaba Environmental Center

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/cahabaenvironmentalcenter

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/cahabaec

Arizona

Arizona Project WET

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ArizonaProjectWET/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/AZProjectWET

APW blog: https://arizonawet.arizona.edu/blog

California

Water Education Foundation

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WaterEducationFoundation  

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WaterEdFdn

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/WaterEdFoundation

Colorado

Central Colorado Water Conservancy District

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Central-Colorado-Water-Conservancy-District-154695851234293/

Colorado Foundation for Water Education 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/watereducation/

Confluence Institute

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Confluence-Institute-492158357533247/

Roaring Fork Conservancy

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/roaringforkconservancy

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/roaringforkconservancy

West Greeley Conservation District

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WestGreeleyConservationDistrict/

Georgia

Georgia Department of Natural Resources

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Georgia-Project-WET-110488602351158/?fref=ts

Idaho

Boise WaterShed Education Center

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BoiseWatershedCenter/

University of Idaho IDAH2O Master Water Stewards

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Idah2o/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/JekinsJames   

Kentucky

Kentucky Association for Environmental Education

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/KY4EnvEd

New Jersey

New Jersey Project WET

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NewJerseyProjectWET/

New York

State University of New York at Fredonia

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mjabot

Pennsylvania

Allegheny Land Trust

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/alleghenylandtrust   

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/alleghenylandtr

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/alleghenylandtr

Bureau of State Parks

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/visitPAparks/

Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Educators

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/PAAssociationofEnvironmentalEducators/

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/pennsylvaniaee

Rhode Island

Rhode Island Division of Fish and Wildlife Outdoor Education

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rioutdooreducation/

South Carolina

Greenville County Soil & Water Conservation District

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GreenvilleCountySoilandWater

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjLpVlLllxOK4fr0hqGlpeA

Texas

Center for Reservoir and Aquatic Systems Research at Baylor University

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CRASREnvironmentalEducation

Guest Post: Recycling and Water Festivals Flow in Connecticut

Tue, 2017-01-10 11:36

Susan Quincy, Project WET Connecticut Coordinator By Susan Quincy, Connecticut Project WET Coordinator

Connecting the dots is what it is all about. When we speak of building an environmentally literate citizenry, we want people not only to be knowledgeable about environmental subjects but also to connect the dots to apply the knowledge to action. America’s Water Future is working to help do just that.

In one of the first examples of an America’s Water Future program, TOMRA—a global company specializing in recycling solutions—sponsored pilot workshops and festivals connecting water and recycling near their U.S. headquarters in Connecticut. As Project WET’s partner in Connecticut, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP) organized the events.

TOMRA employees attended both the workshops and the festivals The program began at the Project WET USA Coordinators’ Conference in Greenville, SC; where Project WET Foundation President and CEO Dennis Nelson had unveiled a new activity, “Zeroing in on No Waste”, to coordinators. The activity is designed to make explicit the connections between water, improved solid waste management through recycling and cleaner rivers, streams, lakes and even oceans.  Students loved the activity as it directly positioned them as active participants in taking positive action in their own school yards and likely back home.   

Later in the fall, the Project WET Foundation and TOMRA began to discuss ways that the company could support a recycling-focused education project under the America’s Water Future banner. The Project WET Foundation got in touch with us at CT DEEP, and ultimately TOMRA decided to sponsor a series of workshops and festivals for teachers and students near Shelton, incorporating the recycling theme. Two teacher/facilitator workshops in November reached 18 teachers and 12 facilitators (master trainers). Based on workshop registrations, teachers could register to hold a Recycling Festival at their school. Some 380 students and teachers were able to participate in activities and lessons highlighting the connection between recycling and water in November and December, and an additional festival is scheduled this spring for another 115 students.

Students learned ways to make recycling fun It was a great experience for us in Connecticut, and the timing was perfect. Connecticut Project WET has begun to restructure its facilitators and their role as educators to help broaden topics and themes addressing issues in our state. It started with Storm Water, which was an easy link, and grew to include fisheries and now recycling. Recycling has become a big focus here, because Connecticut is unique in its trash, energy and recycling plans. The state has announced the following goals:

  • Increase recycling to 60 percent by 2020 (the current rate is 30 percent)
  • Have public remove the term “landfill” from their vocabulary (Connecticut has no active landfills because trash is burned for energy, which is not an ideal solution either)
  • Understand that recycling is the law for everyone
  • Educate on the Hierarchy of Solid Waste management
  • Understand single stream recycling to become better recyclers

Students took part in interactive lessons at the festivals Meanwhile, our goals at Project WET Connecticut include:

  • Increase awareness of water as resource for everything
  • Connect water conservation with natural resource conservation (i.e., materials management)
  • Reduce waste of water in processing of goods
  • Provide public with opportunities to expand education around resources and water to be next generation water stewards.
  • Understand the benefits of clean stream recycling, which prevents the contamination of sorted materials by using reverse vending machine technology.

Classes sent thank-you notes for the festivals CT DEEP this year had already asked me to help create a recycling education network. My first thought was to go to our WET facilitators because they are already in schools and communities working on natural resource topics. We had started building a recycling content training but needed a way to get them out and using things. Connecting recycling to WET provided a specialized training for facilitators on how to connect the theme through existing WET activities, augmented by WILD and PLT and now the new Zero in on No Waste Lesson. The TOMRA project gave things the kick start and application we needed to generate local action.

I have to thank the Project WET Foundation and TOMRA for this opportunity. We look forward to using this subject as a focus for our water festivals here in Connecticut. I would love to share agendas and project with others who might be interested in expanding connections in your state and facilitator training. Send an email and I will gladly respond.

 

 

Outcomes:

  • 2 professional development workshops
  • 4 water festivals at schools
  • Active TOMRA participation in all events
  • Facilitators reinvigorated
  • Direct connection to families on CT recycling practices
  • Increased awareness with schools and school recycling practices
  • DEEP recycling offices interest and WET materials
  • New partners