eeBLUE Blog Series: Watershed Chronicles


eeBLUE Blog Series: Watershed Chronicles

A group of students and teacher sit by a lake and investigate a water sample in a tub

The NOAA Office of Education and NAAEE partnered to increase environmental and science literacy among NOAA’s partners and external networks. During this five-year partnership that was supported by the U.S. Department of Education, NOAA and NAAEE worked together to provide enriching after-school watershed-related STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) projects through NOAA-21st Century Community Learning Centers Watershed STEM Education Partnership grants. These grants supported programming for a total of 100 local 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) sites and their students. The 30 selected projects served 18 states, ranging from Alaska to Florida. 

Hear directly from the Watershed STEM Grantees as they implemented their projects, adapted to challenges, and worked collaboratively toward a blue planet. Read about their journey!

"We’ve started to become a part of the culture of the school. It’s become about more than making sure they have a deep understanding of the watershed. It’s about building their experiences and connections, opening the door to become stewards of their place."

"A signature activity for Champions of Coastal resilience (CCR) is for students to find the high tide line and hold up our one-meter CCR cloth for a visual reference on potential sea-level rise by 2100. Students made observations, wondered, and discussed possible impacts and solutions for mitigation—coastal resilience analysis came to life!"

"Like the innovative and resilient network of environmental educators at NAAEE, the Stroud Center prides itself on perceiving obstacles as opportunities for innovative problem-solving. What follows are some of our richest lessons learned through watershed STEM education throughout two years (and counting!) of a pandemic."

"We spent most of our time outdoors on school grounds and on field trips to do fieldwork along a river, pond, and Long Island Sound. I thought our hands-on approach to seeing and experiencing the flow of water within a watershed really reinforced our messages of one environment and of 'What goes on the ground goes in the Sound.'"

"Creating a connection between the land and water is integral to forming a stewardship ethic from a young age, so it was important to us to create a series of activities that allowed students to see that even if they don’t live directly on a Great Lake, they are part of the Great Lakes watershed and have an effect on the overall health of the system."

"By summer we were running week-long outdoors-only summer day camps at our 15-acre nature center, a local river park, and a nearby lake. These programs also went well, but what we really want to share is the new trail we serendipitously blazed for family learning."

"During these moments, our friends remained supportive, encouraging, and even provided some comic relief as we persevered. Our youth and our community remained everyone’s focus and motivation and we were still able to spend a lot of time outdoors making friends, building community, and making lasting, positive connections to the Flint River and our waterways."

"'The Watersheds & Wildlife program encourages students to be more caring about their environment and help them gain a greater knowledge of the main purpose of the watershed,' noted a participating teacher when asked about students' engagement in the program. 'And that is one way we know our perseverance paid off,' says Johnson."