Program's Assessment

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    Program's Assessment

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    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 youth water fairs, environmental competitions (e.g. Utah Envirothon), teacher trainings and workshops, volunteer monitoring (Utah Water Watch) and general events for the public (e.g. Bear River Celebration and Free Fishing Day).

    On average since 2004, the program has reached 8500 participants.

    Age distribution for USU's Water Quality Extension programs

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

    Number of participants from 2010-2017:

      2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
    Elementary 6078  5807 5048 4753 4694 4804 8167 7412
    MIddle and High School  337 431 758 649 323 247 457 418
    Adults 200 172 407 386 257 217 240 528
    Unknown Age 2338 950 1278 5289 2022 3164 650 586
    Year Totals 8953 7360 7491 11077 7296 8432 9514 8944


    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.

    Natural Resource Field Days stream activityTiffany 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. 
    • 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. 

    Changes in Knowledge and Attitude from a Short-Term Aquatic Education Program


    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

     

    • No focus on core curriculum
    • Teachers were not confident in water quality science
    • Teachers needed specific lesson plans
    • Safety concerns on field trips
    • Limited funds
    • Limited number of field trips

    How these barriers were minimized in Stream Side Science

    • Core curriculum alignment tables
    • Teacher trainings and workshops available through Water Quality Extension
    • 12 Lesson plans
    • Sampling Safety information

     Streamside Science: Tailoring watershed education to meet the needs of teachers

    Teacher comments:

    "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 and knowledgeable." - McKenzi Ashcroft


    Utah Water Watch (UWW) is Utah's citizen water quality monitoring program. 

    Utah Water Watch participationFrom 2012, the start of the program through 2018, UWW has trained 1,342 citizens. Training includes an introductory level Tier 1 training, advanced Tier 2 training and harmful algae monitoring. 

    To learn more about the program, check out the Accomplishments on this page

     


    msEast 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 temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, water level and turbidity.

    A touch screen in the Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter displays real-time data from this station: http://swaner.web.usu.edu.


    Awards

    The Bear River Celebration, put on by awardsUSU 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.