by Ann Regn, Project WET Virginia Coordinator
Over the last year, 78 educators have participated in one or more classes in Virginia’s Watershed Educators Institute. Those participating in 5 or more workshops (40 hours of professional development) receive a recognition certificate. Project WET materials serve as the curriculum foundation for the various topics of the classes, for example:
- Assessment of the Health of a Watershed, Part 2 (Healthy Water, Healthy People)
- Introducing Watersheds (Discover a Watershed Manager)
- Methods for Teaching Biological Assessment of Stream Health (Healthy Water, Healthy People)
- Freshwater Wetlands Investigation (Wonders of Wetlands)
- Coastal Wetlands Investigation (Wonders of Wetlands)
A main focus of the WEI training is to help educators design and implement a Meaningful Watershed Education Experience (MWEE) for school groups. These experiences include substantial field work by students, and WET activities provide lessons for preparation, data collection and assessment of learning. Graduates are invited each year to become K-12 facilitators and train teachers in their school districts.
Last November, WET Coordinator and project manager Page Hutchinson accepted a new position with the Virginia Department of Forestry as the Project Learning Tree Coordinator. We are delighted that PLT has a top-notch water educator on their staff, but the agency has loss some capability in water education. Ann Regn, the former Coordinator, has stepped in temporarily, and resources from the water division have been allocated to help fill gaps. For more information, visit the Virginia DEQ website.