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Youth Water Education

A variety of resources and opportunities are available from Penn State Extension to help you provide youth with water education experiences.
A group of youth learn about the importance of water clarity at a Penn State Extension program.

A group of youth learn about the importance of water clarity at a Penn State Extension program.

Why is Youth Water Education Important?

Water is an essential resource. While most everyone knows that we need water to survive, we often overlook all of the other important roles water plays in our lives. It's not hard to think of all of the direct water uses we encounter day to day, like drinking, bathing, cooking, cleaning, and watering our gardens. We use a lot more water indirectly everyday. Water is used for generating electricity, growing fruits and vegetable crops, raising livestock, manufacturing of nearly everything including electronics and construction materials, and transportation of products around the world.

In many parts of the world, water supplies are scarce or becoming scarce. Droughts and increased water use are both contributing to these issues. Even where there are abundant water supplies, many have become impaired by pollutants running off the land where large amounts of urban development and agriculture are taking place.

Youth play an important role in becoming informed citizens and future decision makers. Engaging them in educational opportunities about water, science, and technology now will help to create a future generation of water stewards and innovators. A variety of award-winning resources for teaching youth about water are available from Penn State Extension. Those resources include:

  • Rain to Drain - Slow the Flow

    Rain to Drain - Slow the Flow is a hands-on stormwater education curriculum available from Penn State Extension and Pennsylvania 4-H. This experiment style series of activities leads youth and adults to a better understanding of the movement of stormwater in natural and developed communities. It's also a great introduction to green infrastructure and stormwater best management practices.

  • Watershed Decisions Activity

    A hands-on, inquiry based activity that helps older youth and adults learn about water quality issues surrounding small watersheds and the decision making processes that go into improving those water quality issues.

  • Dive Deeper - Youth Water Educators Summit

    The Dive Deeper Summit is a gathering of youth water educators in the Mid-Atlantic Region where knowledge and resource sharing is paired with outstanding networking opportunities.

  • Drinking Water Fact Sheet for Youth

    Help youth to better understand why drinking water is important to them, where it comes from, and how we make sure it's safe to drink with this engaging fact sheet. Written for youth in grades 6-12, the fact sheet covers important points about public and private water systems and includes an activity on how to read a water quality test report.

  • 4-H Stream Teams Program

    4-H Stream Teams is an opportunity for youth in Pennsylvania that are interested in water, environmental awareness, science, and their local community. Youth participate in hands-on learning experiences and take part in implementing a water based community service project in their own neighborhoods.

  • 4-H Water Projects

    A series of water-based project books, written in Pennsylvania, are available through 4-H, Penn State Extension's Youth Development Program. The books include hands-on and thought provoking activities related to water conservation, water science, water quality, riparian buffers, and more. Helper's Guides and introductory video presentations are also available.

  • The Role of Water in Shale Gas Drilling (Youth-Oriented)

    Video presentations about water and the environmental impacts of shale gas drilling and production in the Mid-Atlantic region. These videos were designed for use by educators in both formal and informal educational settings. Although geared towards youth, the presentations are appropriate for adults in the general public who may want to learn more about this topic as well.

Rain to Drain - Slow the Flow is a hands-on stormwater education curriculum available from Penn State Extension and Pennsylvania 4-H.

Video presentations about water and the environmental impacts of shale gas drilling and production in the Mid-Atlantic region. These videos were designed for use by educators in both formal and informal educational settings. Although geared towards youth, the presentations are appropriate for adults in the general public who may want to learn more about this topic as well.

Help youth to better understand why drinking water is important to them, where it comes from, and how we make sure it's safe to drink with this engaging fact sheet. Written for youth in grades 6-12, the fact sheet covers important points about public and private water systems and includes an activity on how to read a water quality test report.

Penn State Extension hosts a monthly webinar series on topics related to water issues for homeowners, gardeners, water professionals, youth educators, and more.