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 Envirothon 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).
|Age Distribution of Participants in Water Quality Extension Events|
"Unknown age" is data from general public events where people of all ages were present.
|Middle and High School||545||979||705||598||312||267||337||431||758||4,932|
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:
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|
|Streamside Science: Tailoring watershed education to meet the needs of teachers|
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."
"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."
"Great instructors. Great materials. Great ready to use lesson plans. Super activities out in the field with excellent hands on activities."
East Canyon Creek Monitoring Station
USU Water Quality Extension set up a monitoring station in East Canyon Creek (20 miles east of Salt Lake City). This stations monitors:
- Dissolved oxygen
- 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 touch sceen in the Swaner Preserve and Ecocenter displays real-time data from this station.
The Bear River Celebration, put on by USU Water Quality Extension and partners, was named 2013's Utah Environmental Education Program of the Year by the Utah Society of Environmental Education. To find out more, click here.