Iowa Watershed Project - Youth Conservation Leadership

The Watershed Project: A Project-Based Learning Framework for Iowa High Schools Website
At the 2016 Iowa Water Conference, students from the Ames High School Bluestem Institute presented their final products from a unique project-based learning seminar focused on water issues in Iowa. Following the enthusiastic reception from conference-goers and the public, the Iowa Water Center and Iowa Stormwater Education Partnership intitiated discussion with the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture that revealed a common interest in transformative youth education.
The result of those conversations is a three-year pilot project (2017-2019) for an education program option that enables students to examine water and soil quality issues in their local watersheds and communities by physically exploring the world around them and connecting to the natural environment. Funded through a bequest to the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture from the estate of Iowan Robert Margroff, The Watershed Project is a flexible framework developed by Iowa educators to engage youth in three dimensional learning while meeting Next Generation Science Standards.

Project Objectives

This project seeks to:

  • Create an educational framework for integrating soil and water conservation into Iowa high school curriculums that encourages critical thinking that builds resiliency in urban and agricultural communities through STEM and other areas of study such as art and music.
  • Provide the resources necessary to integrate and deliver the curriculum developed, including lessons and activities, supplies, reference materials and professional development opportunities.
  • Provide resources and support that promotes student interaction with the community and allows students to share their experiences and learning with others, with the greater goal of raising community awareness on soil and water conservation issues.  

As of fall 2017, The Watershed Project is being implemented in a Davenport North High School classroom. The project website will house the full framework and implementation activities as they are completed.

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