Thinking Like a Watershed brings together educators, scientists, and youth to understand the Chesapeake Bay watershed. We are developing and piloting a three-season curriculum to be used by the upper elementary teachers at the State College Friends School (SCFS), and integrated into the ClearWater Conservancy’s Connections program. This curriculum combines learning about natural and human watershed systems with building the skills needed to be a citizen scientist. The goal is for children to understand how they fit into our watershed system and develop a sense of agency around the issues of watershed health and resiliency.
Our learning starts at home in Centre County as we explore the lakes, wetlands, and streams in the area, as well as learn foundational concepts about hydrology, ecology, and democracy in the classroom. In the early spring, SCFS teachers and students will work with the ClearWater to collect data at ongoing test sites. In collaboration with a Clearwater biologist we will analyze and interpret our data. In the late spring, we’ll visit the Chesapeake Bay and work with the National Aquarium and the Living Classrooms Foundation to learn about the Bay’s ecology.
ClearWater is using Thinking like a Watershed to prototype and buildout more in-depth programs for their partner school districts. ClearWater currently institutes the Connections program, reaching over 30 different schools across 7 school districts in the local area. The overall goal is to make connections between students, communities, and our streams. This understanding forms the backbone of how students relate to water resources. Our students are our future; the protection of our water resources ultimately depends on the actions they will take. The more knowledgeable students are about our local water resources, the more likely they will be to take actions that lead to better protection, enhanced restoration, and continued stewardship of our watershed into the future.
Funded by State College, PA (December 2019)