Pictured: Mary Jo DeSilva, Diane Stephens, Jackie Duenas, Cassidy Rungo, Paavo Ogren, Andrew Stone, Trevor Fedoruk, Sam Rodriguez, Areya Taheri, Janae Alvarez
American Ground Water Trust's Ground Water Institute for Teachers in Riverside, California last November was the first to include students in the two-day teacher training workshop. Arlington High School's Envirothon Team participated in the program designed to teach teachers how to apply exciting and practical "water science" to many traditional subject areas. The same team of students was invited to the Association of Ground Water Agencies (AGWA) & American Ground Water Trust's Alternative Water Resources for Southern California conference held last week in Ontario, CA, allowing the students to learn about critical water supply issues impacting Southern California.
Mary Jo De Silva, Envirothon Team Captain
Arlington High School Envirothon Team Captain Mary Jo De Silva addressed the 130 water managers and engineers who attended the conference. She explained how the Envirothon Team was committed to understanding environmental issues. She and the Envirothon Team recognized that the invitation to attend the Conference represented a terrific opportunity to hear from California’s water leaders about real-life environmental issues.
Ground Water Institute for Teachers Background
The first teacher training event, “Ground Water Institute for Teachers” was held in 2000 in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire. Since then, AGWT has convened 77 of the two-day environmental education programs for teachers and educators in 17 states, (including 15 in California, 13 in Texas, 13 in Florida and 10 in New England) with 2,000 teachers attending. The instructors for each Institute are educators themselves or are water professionals with hands-on experience in their field of expertise. We recognize that teachers in all grades must adhere to state standards and prescribed learning objectives, and so our approach - through class sessions, demonstrations, discussions and handouts - is to demonstrate how to integrate water topic subject matter into existing curricula.
We believe that teachers who are excited about environmental education and who are provided with some training in water-related cause-and-effect will be more likely to effectively teach environmental concepts to their students with a positive and motivating style. Our Institutes motivates and focuses educators. There are thousands of school storerooms groaning with unused curriculum materials. The institutes get teachers fired up to make use of the materials that are already available.
Students made aware of the economic and environmental importance of water resources and aquatic habitat are likely to become motivated to protect and conserve resources. As future voting citizens we hope that they will recognize the connected and integrated nature of the environment and be empowered to play an active role in protecting resources for sustainable use. Many decision makers, whose actions impact water resources, did not grow up understanding the science basics of water management and protection. An appreciation of the role of water in our state environment and economy should now be part of the learning heritage of every adult and child. To be effective stewards of our water resources, there must be greater awareness and understanding of the science behind the resource.
To sponsor a Ground Water Institute, please call 603-288-5444. Without donations and sponsorships, we cannot support our critical mission.