Team WET Schools and WET in the City - Urban Water Education Programs that Meet Your Public Education Needs

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Abstract:

With water at the forefront of national environmental issues, especially in urban areas, the Council for Environmental Education1 (CEE) developed Team WET® Schools and WET in the City®, two urban environmental education programs that focus on water. WET in the City is designed to be implemented and facilitated city-wide as a teacher-training program to educate formal and non-formal K-12 educators about water and water resource issues. Team WET Schools is a companion program to WET in the City that empowers urban youth to become responsible stewards of our water resources. A sustainable network of community partners grows around each Team WET School, supporting students in active water stewardship and community improvement. Both programs facilitate the development of networks and community/school partnerships while preparing and encouraging urban students and teachers to make informed decisions regarding how their actions will impact water quality and quantity.

WET in the City was piloted in Houston Texas in the fall of 1999, and has since expanded to Los Angeles, California, Tulsa, Oklahoma and Washington, DC. WET in the City is also utilized as part of CEE's water education efforts with Team WET Schools. Team WET Schools was also piloted in Houston Texas and has since expanded to San Antonio with funding from the San Antonio Water System and to Indianapolis with support from Indianapolis Clean Stream Team.

Core to each program are WET in the City training workshops to help educators integrate activities from the WET in the City K-12 Curriculum and Activity Guide into school curricula. The Guide, written in partnership with water resource experts and educators nationwide, is a multi-disciplinary hands-on urban water education curriculum that explores the science of water and complex issues surrounding its management and stewardship.

In addition to WET in the City training, Team WET Schools includes designation ceremonies, events to celebrate and provide recognition for schools and program sponsors, and additional workshops designed to help teachers mentor successful student-driven water stewardship projects. Examples of potential student projects include hosting a school-wide water festival, conducting a comprehensive audit of school water use (and waste), installing a xeriscape or native habitat garden for use as an outdoor classroom, or monitoring the water quality of a local waterway.

CEE is continually working to expand the programs and provide additional resources to promote water education and stewardship in urban schools and communities. In 2002 CEE released an updated and expanded edition of the WET in the City Curriculum and Activity Guide, increasing its urban focus. Last month CEE added WET in the City Spanish Language Student Pages to its publication line-up, and a new Water Watchers: Conserving Water at Your School and Home school water audit manual is currently in production.

WET in the City and Team WET Schools look forward to a successful future…encouraging meaningful partnerships between educators and water education professionals, supporting urban educators in their natural resource education efforts, contributing to education reform efforts, creating city networks on behalf of water education, and inspiring a variety of water stewardship projects among urban youth.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2175/193864704784148222

Publication date: January 1, 2004

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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