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 8,500 participants.
"Unknown age" is data from general public events where people of all ages were present.
Number of participants from 2010-2017:
|MIddle and High School||337||431||758||649||323||247||457||418|
Every fall approximately 1,500 students in 4th grade and their teachers from Cache County and Logan City School Districts 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 the 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.
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
"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.
From 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 the Utah Water Watch page.
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 temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, water level, and turbidity.
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.