Water Quality Programs Assessment

What is USU Water Quality Extension's mission and who do we reach?

USU Water Quality Extension's mission is to inform people of all ages about the link between their everyday activities and land uses and the quality of our water. We strive to accomplish this by participating in water fairs, environmental competitions (e.g. Utah Envirathon and Science Olympiad), teacher trainings and workshops, volunteer monitoring (Utah Water Watch and other monitoring events) and general events for the public (e.g. Bear River Celebration and Free Fishing Day).

2012

2004 - 2012

"Unknown age" is data from general public events where people of all ages were present.

2004 2005 2006 2007
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Total Participants
Elementary 4,332 5,299 2,679 6,194 5,414 6,176 6,078 5,807 5,048 47,027
Middle and High School 545 979 705 598 312 267 337 431 758 4,932
Adults 539 934 336 309 767 149 200 172 407 3,813
Unknown Age 2,821 2,385 2,180 1,470 3,146 1,506 2,338 950 1,278 18,074
Year Totals 8,237 9,597 5,900 8,571 9,639 8,098 8,953 7,360 7,491 73,846


Natural Resource Field Days

Every fall approximately 1500 students in 4th grade and their teachers from Cache County and Logan City School District spend a day up Logan canyon learning about plants, soils, water and wildlife. Professionals from USU Water Quality Extension, Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, Hardware Ranch, Cache County Extension, the Utah Association of Conservation Districts, and student volunteers from Utah State University manage stations with hands-on educational activities for students.

Tiffany Kinder, a MS Student in USU Department of Watershed Sciences conducted an assessment of Natural Resource Field Days. She found:

  •      Students who participated in NR Days showed a significant increase in knowledge 2 weeks after the event
  •      Students were able to retain most information learned 8 months after participating in NR Days
  •      Enhancing NR Days with classroom lessons immediately before and after NR Days led to a significantly higher increase in student knowledge both 2 weeks and 8 months after the event
  •      Enhancing NR Days with a 2nd field experience in the spring led to complete knowledge retention 8 months after NR Days
  •      Students who participated in NR Days exhibited an increase in environmental awareness after the event
  •      Teachers consistently indicated the value of NR Days as a tool to introduce the science curriculum for the year and refer back to the experience throughout the year


Utah Stream Team and Stream Side Science

The Utah Stream Team manual is an educational tool designed to help both formal and informal educators implement fun and exciting science activities into their teaching. However, we found that teachers were not using the Utah Stream Team manual. Andree Walker (a masters student at Utah State University) met with the Utah State Office of Education Science Curriculum Coordinator and teachers to figure out why teachers were not using the manual. She found that they liked the content of Utah Stream team, but there were barriers for teachers implementing it in their classrooms.

Barriers with Utah Stream Team How these barriers were minimized in Stream Side Science
• No focus on core curriculum • Core curriculum alignment tables
• Teachers were not confident in water quality science Teacher trainings and workshops available through Water Quality Extension
• Teachers needed specific lesson plans • 12 Lesson plans
• Safety concerns on field trips • Sampling Safety Information
• Limited funds
• Limited number of field trips
Teacher comments about Stream Side Science Workshops
"Keep doing this workshop!  This is by far the most useful workshop I've ever been to. I'm glad to attend."
-Joe Wilson
"Everything was very well organized and taught in a way that was very relevant to and helpful for educators. The instructors were happy, enthusiastic & knowledgeable."
-McKenzi Ashcroft
"Great instructors. Great materials. Great ready to use lesson plans. Super activities out in the field with excellent hands on activities."
-Rob Stewart


East Creek Canyon Monitoring Station

USU Water Quality Extension set up a monitoring station in East Creek Canyon (20 miles east of Salt Lake City). This stations monitors:

  • Temperature
  • Dissolved oxygen
  • Turbidity
  • pH
  • Specific conductance (how well water can conduct an electrical current)
  • Flow (the amount of water that flows past a specific point in a stream over a specific period of time)

A touchsceen in the Swaner Preserve and Ecocenter displays real-time data from this station.