Watershed Workshop for Educators Explores Connections and Communities

March 13th, 2006 by Adam

Water connects a community in more ways than one, providing sources of sustenance, natural habitat, power and recreation. On Friday, April 7, “Going With the Flow,” a workshop for teachers and other educators held at Plymouth State University, will explore the past, present and future connections between watersheds and communities.

A watershed is an area of land that collects precipitation, which then drains into local rivers, streams and other bodies of water. Everything that happens in a local watershed affects the quality of drinking water, water habitats and recreational areas. Watersheds, like other natural and human-made features, also experience change over time due to a variety of social, economic and land management choices.

“Going With the Flow” will explore the many curriculum connections within watershed education, from environmental science and local history to art, civics and economics. Teachers will gain new perspectives on how to create an integrated curriculum using a community’s “watershed address” as inspiration.

The workshop’s coordinators, Mary Ann McGarry, Ed.D., of the PSU Center for the Environment, and Blake Allen, M.Ed. of the PSU College of Graduate Studies, will showcase a variety of project ideas and themes related to watershed education.

According to McGarry, who specializes in water resource outreach at the Center for the Environment, watershed education is “a multidisciplinary experience, an adventure that connects us with our community and prompts us to become stewards of this life-giving natural resource.”
“We all live in a watershed and our actions impact the health of our water resources,” McGarry said. “Studying watersheds raises awareness about where our water comes from and how our water is used, in the past, and today.”

For teachers and students, watershed education is hands-on, interactive and interdisciplinary. At “Going With the Flow,” science educators will learn how to host a water festival, launch a field expedition, develop community outreach materials, publish a book of student work inspired by the local watershed or develop a riverside trail. Social studies themes will also be explored, including how to tie the watershed to studies of civics, government, geography, history and economics, and how to use primary sources such as maps, land deeds, oral histories and photographs to introduce students to their local water resources.

“Going with the Flow” workshop participants will receive a professional development certificate for six professional development hours. Participants may also apply for graduate credit with the completion of a post-workshop classroom project. The cost for the workshop, which runs Friday, April 7 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., is $85 per person, including lunch and materials. Registration is required by March 31.

For more information or to register for the workshop, please contact Kathi Fuller at (603) 535-2734.

Plymouth State University (PSU) is a regional comprehensive university offering a rich, student-focused learning environment for both undergraduate and graduate students. PSU offers 42 majors and 62 minors in programs that include education, business, humanities, arts, and natural and social sciences. The College of Graduate Studies offers coursework that promotes research, best practices and reflection in locations on- and off-campus as well as online. For non-traditional students, PSU’s Frost School of Continuing and Professional Studies offers working professionals opportunities to pursue an undergraduate degree by attending classes in the evenings, weekends and online. Located in a beautiful New England setting, Plymouth State University has been recognized as one of the “Best in the Northeast” by The Princeton Review.