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New Hands-on Watershed Decisions Lesson Plan for Teens and Adults

Posted: August 13, 2012

A new, interactive, inquiry-based lesson plan has been created to help older youth better understand water quality issues that surround small watersheds and the decision making processes that go into improving those water quality issues.
Teens participate in the brand new Watershed Decisions activity to learn about small watershed management and water quality issues through inquiry-based learning.

Teens participate in the brand new Watershed Decisions activity to learn about small watershed management and water quality issues through inquiry-based learning.

Youth participants act as new members of a local watershed association interested in improving local water quality. They examine simulated water samples, explore the land users in their community, and then create a plan for improving their watershed on a limited budget. There is no one solution to this activity and the results are dependent upon the creativity, opinions, and ideas of the participants. The activity is designed to allow youth to go through a scientific inquiry and experiential learning process as they learn about watershed management practices. The lesson plan was written for youth ages 12-18 that have been engaged in other water or environmental learning experiences and who are seeking an opportunity to take these learning experiences to the next level. This lesson can be used either in a school classroom or during out-of-school time such as 4-H clubs, afterschool programs, or scout troops. It has also been applied to adult community groups working on issues surrounding watershed management.

During the initial offering period, participation in the Watershed Decisions lesson plan has had the following results:

  • 63% (n=112) of youth indicated that they better understood the definition of a watershed.
  • 70% (n=112) of youth indicated that they are somewhat or very likely to share this activity with others.
  • 42% (n=110) of youth indicated that they would definitely get involved in community service projects that benefit their local water in the future.
  • 34% (n=110) indicated that the lesson plan has led them to consider pursuing a career or future education in water science that they had not considered before.

Watershed Decisions was recognized nationally in 2012 as an outstanding educational publication by the Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals and the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents. The Watershed Decisions lesson plan was created primarily through support of the pilot 4-H Stream Teams program, funded by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under Agreement No. 2009-51130-06061

For more information about Watershed Decisions and to find out how you can participate in the activity, contact Jennifer Fetter at 4HWater@psu.edu or 717-921-8803.

Contact Information

Jennifer R Fetter
  • Extension Educator, Renewable Natural Resources
Email:
Phone: 717-921-8803