Dive Deeper Summit Participants Eager to Gather Again Next Year

Posted: October 9, 2012

Youth Water Educators from around the Mid-Atlantic Region gathered together in Harrisburg, PA for a day of learning, networking, and sharing resources. The Dive Deeper Summit, hosted by Penn State Extension on September 27, 2012, was the first of its kind for most participants.
“Bryan Swistock and Sanford “Sandy” Smith take questions on the current state of water resources in the Mid-Atlantic Region at the 2012 Dive Deeper Summit”

“Bryan Swistock and Sanford “Sandy” Smith take questions on the current state of water resources in the Mid-Atlantic Region at the 2012 Dive Deeper Summit”

A total of 83 educators from a wide variety of backgrounds (conservation districts, cooperative extension offices, schools, nature centers, government agencies, scouting organizations, and more) all reported that they were motivated to use ideas from the summit in their educational programming in the next 12 months. Those ideas included a better understanding of the current state of our water resources in the Mid-Atlantic Region and the use of inquiry-based learning in science education as presented by keynote speakers and Penn State Extension Educators, Bryan Swistock and Edward Bender, respectively. More than half of the attendees left the event indicating they had a much better understanding of one or both of these important topics. Attendees also gained valuable knowledge and resources by attending workshops throughout the day, presented by innovative speakers such as Christina Medved from Stroud Water Research Center, Estelle Ruppert and Amy Hill from the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bob Manbeck from United Water, Melinda-Hughes Wert from Nature Abounds, Judith Purnell and Vivian Williams from PA Sea Grant, and Lori Lauver from the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts. The day closed with Jennifer Fetter, Penn State Extension Educator and Conference Organizer, speaking on the importance of making connections between youth and their local small watershed. “No matter what type of water education we are providing to youth, if we want them to become good future water stewards it is important for us all, as educators, to help those youth make connections to the water that they are impacting on a daily basis as well as to the water that is directly impacting their lives” says Fetter. With 86% of the attendees able to state specific new plans they had as a result of the summit; including trying new curriculum, continuing networking with newly discovered colleagues, and incorporating more science driven approaches into their water education, it is likely that future Dive Deeper Summits will be held in the region. For more information about the Dive Deeper Summit and Penn State Extension’s Youth Water Programming, visit the 4-H Stream Teams website or contact Jennifer Fetter at or 717-921-8803.