Region Updates - Region 5
Candice Miller (OK) -
- North Fork of the Red River Conservation District held a Natural Resource Day for students in local elementary schools. At my station, students had the opportunity to look find live bugs from the pond and look at them under the microscope.
- During a fish collection on Spring Creek, a pristine Ozark stream, we collected one of the most beautiful longear sunfish I have ever seen! The photos can’t even do it justice!
- We finally reconnected with Langston University, a local HBCU, after a long hiatus. It was great to work with the students and begin the rebuild that relationship.
What have been the highlights of your program in the past year?
In-person education with students finally returned in earnest this year and I have been having so much fun with it! I have especially enjoyed taking groups of students out to the creek or showing them live bugs! I was also grateful to begin rebuilding a relationship with Langston University, a local HBCU.
What have been your greatest challenges?
I was a little rusty with in-person education for students. I struggled with feeling like I wasn’t really having an impact or even leaving them with a nugget of new information. After some reflection and listening to a lot of stories and experiences from fellow coordinators, I changed my approach and now I feel like I am more effective and having more fun with it!
What are your plans to date for your Project WET program going into the next year?
We plan to continue offering WET workshops in conjunction with our volunteer monitoring training, and at this time, we have six planned for 2023! We also plan to add several stand alone WET workshops for educators in the summer months.
Rachel Wahle (KS) - From Kansas, we have created online Water in Our Community Moodle courses that we can customize for different communities based on their unique watershed. We partnered with local teachers to create online modules for different grade bands, so we have 4-6, Middle School and High School courses for educators.
We just hosted our first in person conference in several years and did it in partnership with MEAA (Missouri Environmental Education Association). The biggest challenge for us as usual, is too many projects and either not enough funding or staff time to accomplish all the great things, but we are always looking back and impressed with what we have done so far!
On a personal note, my daughter Avery is playing all the 7th grade middle school sports which is fun to watch, and my son Asher is in 4th grade and is a forward in soccer and love watching him play! Happy Holidays to all and wishing everyone the best!
Caitlin Joubert (LA) - LA Project WET was invited to participate in the 2022 Water Palooza- a day-long water festival hosted by Water Environment Federation, before their annual meeting. WEFTEC hosted the 2022 water festival in New Orleans, with approximately 250 students grades K-7th, on October 7, 2022.
The pictures are from Water Palooza in New Orleans. My coworker Kenny Bohnsack and I participated in Water Palooza 2022, hosted by WEFTEC prior to their annual conference. At Water Palooza we worked with kids in grades K-7th to discuss water runoff, pollution, and conservation! It was a wonderful event with amazing students!
LA Project WET is looking to purchase a utility trailer that will serve as our Water Conservation Trailer that will be used to store Project WET workshop supplies and activities. This will allow us to save time from loading and unloading supplies before and after workshops and allow us to bring more supplies when going to events!
LA Project WET has partnered with the Catahoula Soil and Water Conservation District to reach out to local schools and will be planning Water Education Days for students in the parish in the near future!
While we were in somewhat of a hibernation the past 2 years, LA Project WET has partnered with 3 leadership groups to host 3 separate teacher-training combo workshops. We also have a student workshop scheduled for this winter, with more being planned each week!
Melissa Mullins (TX) -
Texas Coordinators Liz Gutierrez (Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority), Marti Lathrop (University of North Texas Elm Fork Education Center), Melissa Mullins (Baylor University Center for Reservoir and Aquatic Systems Research), and Cinde Thomas- Jimenez (GBRA) teamed up for a two-hour Project WET sampler workshop in Dallas, TX on November 11th. The session was held at the annual conference of the Science Teachers Association of Texas (STAT), which is called the Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching (CAST). A great group of enthusiastic teachers joined us late on a Friday afternoon (now that’s dedication!) to engage in Blue Planet, Blue River, Incredible Journey, Seeing Watersheds and Water Quality Ask the Bugs.
New Coordinator Spotlight - Katelyn Barkalow (TX)
Howdy, I’m the Education and Interpretation Coordinator at Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, an education facility, visitor center and working hatchery for the Inland Fisheries division of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (https://tpwd.texas.gov/spdest/visitorcenters/tffc/visit/information/) .
I started in outdoor education through camping workshops and interpretive park ranger positions mostly with Texas State Parks, a stint in the Tetons and Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. I have come to Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center at an exciting time. We are gearing up for a big remodel and reopening where I hope to refocus our education efforts on being a resource for educators. I’m so excited to dive into Project WET and connect educators to this awesome resource along with the many other natural resources we have to offer.
Announcements from PWET USA
Warehouse Sale! Hi all, we will run another end-of-year warehouse sale this year. View price list here. The sale will run from Nov. 15 – Dec. 15. Please share with your networks and let us know if you have any questions!
ee360- We just received word from the ee360 folks that we will be able to submit data for this grant year backdating to June 1st 2022. This means if you coordinated an ee360 workshop(ie got free books!) over the summer, we'd love to get your evaluation and educator hour match data!
Evaluation - If you haven't already submitted evaluation data, please use the Project WET Workshop evaluation form on projectwetusa.org. You can register your workshop on projectwetusa.org and then direct participants to answer the online evaluation form or input the information you already collected from paper evaluations. If you had educators fill out the projectwetusa.org evaluation online during your workshop, we have your data and you do not need to do this again.
Educator Hour Match - We are required to provide 25% match as part of the grant. We will do so with our effort as well as our partners’ and educators’ effort hours during training and preparation, AS LONG AS FEDERAL FUNDS ARE NOT USED TO COMPENSATE THEM. Please use the provided forms to track the number of educators, trainers and hours for your training(s).
Download or make a copy of the form here to report your hours: https:// docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1YrLUEEEL0J5M9css3EFX5AWB9- nTsltWNY01Amt_fG8/edit?usp=sharing We appreciate your help in gathering this reporting data. If you have any questions, let Julia or Beth know.
ee360 Year 2 Updates- The second year of the ee360+ grant is in full swing. This year we are prioritizing books for workshops primarily working with low-income communities and communities of color (communities traditionally underserved in EE). We are also prioritizing anyone who will include indigenous education for all as part of their workshop (can be to anyone!).
We have a high priority to start discussing the disparities in EJ and in prioritizing western ecological education over traditional environmental education. Starting this discussion in your workshops and helping people to understand injustices to indigenous people is important. We set a goal to conduct 20 workshops that will have indigenous inclusion as part of the workshop. Please let us know if you are doing this, want to do this, or if we can help you to have indigenous inclusion as part of your workshops.
To help you be more inclusive with indigenous perspectives, we are offering another two-part training on indigenous inclusion with a woman of the Omaha tribe, Renee Sans Souci. These training will occur January 17 and 19th from 2:00-3:30pm EST. Thanks to Jack Hilgert for this connection!
Finally, we are striving (as a start) to create partnerships with people from five different tribal nations who may help us to understand how we can be more inclusive of traditional ecological knowledge and indigenous perspectives in our activities and workshops. They have evolved with this land and have thousands of years of knowledge about it that we can all learn from!
As of now we have climate guides available for pre-service and in-service workshops.
Guide 2.0: 166 remaining
CWR: 275 remaining
To apply for guides, visit: https://forms.gle/CAcvXYzqve31Y4Bj7
For more information check out the folder on the Coordinator Google Drive: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1h-b1oXmMrK1aA1JYo9fccA3830hOwLQ7?usp=sharing
Lauren Daniel (SC) PWET Facilitator Engagement WETteam - First off, I’d like to formally announce our new WETeam (WET-Team? We-Team?) transitioning from the Digital Media Team to the Facilitator Engagement Team. If you’re an educator, you’re familiar with the never-ending shape shifting necessary to support evolving needs and developments. So with that said, we’re still supporting our beloved Shared Google Drive that was born out of that daggum Pandemic, but we are also looking at ways to enhance facilitator networks as we move into the future!
So what does all this have to do with you? Well, I’m glad you asked:
Each state’s Project WET Program is only as strong as the people who provide its content. Some states have large, active facilitator networks with funding and years of partnerships to propel their programming, some states have coordinators who facilitate all the Project WET workshops, and various other dynamics somewhere in between. We want to work together to identify common priorities, needs, and gaps and then align our efforts to support those needs. Maybe your facilitators need something that they don’t even know they can ask for? Maybe there are barriers to hosting workshops that can be removed by some simple innovative problem solving? Sometimes the needs aren’t realized until the questions are asked, so HERE WE ARE!
You’re welcome to just forward this delightful (albeit, wordy) letter to your facilitators, or simply copy/paste the text below into your own email:
The Project WET Facilitator Engagement Team is asking all Project WET Coordinators to share this survey with their facilitators. Submissions can be anonymous and results can be organized and shared out upon request. The Facilitator Engagement Team will use the results of this survey to inform projects in 2023 to enhance and support facilitator networks.
The survey can be found here. It will take 5-7 minutes to complete and participants who complete this survey before 12/1 can be entered to win a PRIZE!!
We thank you for your time and interest in supporting Project WET and we look forward to returning the favor by offering relevant resources to suit your needs.
Have a great day,
Lauren & the Facilitator Engagement Team
Marti Lathrop (TX) PWET Coordinator Newsletter Planning WETteam
Hey everyone! Solina put together a document of links to newsletters from the past couple years. Here's the link to the Google Doc, it is in the PWET Google Drive (not sure where exactly). Let Solina know if there is anything we need to add. It will be added to the Coordinator Shared Resources page.
Other Exciting Water Education News
Caitlin Joubert (LA) - The National Association of Conservation Districts will be hosting their annual meeting in New Orleans, February of 2023. This meeting will bring Soil and Water Conservation Districts representatives from all 50 states plus territories!
LA Project WET is housed under the State Department of Agriculture and Forestry, and within our Office of Soil and Water Conservation. We try to always connect our Soil and Water Conservation Districts with our workshops, either as a sponsor, or by bringing in office staff to be trained as presenters!
We (the state office) are excited to be the host state and work with our counterparts from all over.
The state coordinator recently attended the 8th Farmer Veteran Stakeholder Conference in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. This Farmer Veteran Coalition is for veterans who wish to serve their country, yet again, by feeding it or working in an agriculture related field. The conference consisted of farm tours, guest speakers and panels, networking and distinguished speakers. Any veterans who plan to work in an agricultural field are recommended to reach out to your local state chapter to learn more!
Melissa Mullins (TX) -
On Behalf Of Karen Peterson, NGCPLT
To: NGCPLTeams [at] ngcproject.simplelists.com
Subject: Snowball Survey: Help us identify national informal STEM programs!
Please distribute this survey to your networks to help us inform this new NGCP initiative. Feel free to reach out to me if you have questions
Dear informal STEM education network,
We need your help identifying national informal STEM curricula and programs! The National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP) and Education Development Center (EDC) have recently been awarded a National Science Foundation grant Advancing the Conversations on Scaling National Informal STEM Programs (Award #2214449). This grant aims to examine what scaling informal STEM curricula and programs looks like across diverse settings in an effort to collaboratively articulate success factors, challenges and other issues that are part of growing and scaling. Please help us identify programs and people to include in the conversation by completing this brief survey by December 5, 2022.
We are looking for a large diversity of responses, so feel free to forward this on to others in your network. We appreciate your support!
Marti Lathrop (TX)-
The NOAA Ocean Exploration newsletter provides subscribers with information on student and teacher opportunities, educational resources, and upcoming ocean exploration expeditions.
This newsletter includes:
- Opportunities to become involved in the 2023 International SeaPerch Challenge
- Information on current events and opportunities on the Deep Ocean Education Project website (www.deepoceaneducation.org)
- Ways to access all new NOAA Ocean Exploration Resources on Seamounts
- The November NOAA Ocean Exploration downloadable desktop wallpaper calendar
Click here to access the full newsletter!
Jack Hilgert (NE) Nebraska eSummit Evaluation, Recording, Slides
I know a few WET coordinators joined our group in Nebraska this week for our zoom training, but I didn’t make a list of everyone who spent time with us. Apologies to send this to everyone but I wanted to make sure these got to the appropriate parties.
Have a wonderful weekend ahead, Jack Hilgert
Please see the links below for the recording and resources from Wednesday’s eSummit. THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone who spent time with us on Wednesday! We so very much appreciate everyone spending time together this week and for all your continued contributions to our collective efforts to connect Nebraska educators and youth to the environment!
eSummit Recording – Click the link to watch/review a recording a majority of the presentations from Wednesday.
Presentation Slides – Click the link to open a Google Drive folder with resources from Wednesday including:
- Jack’s slides - EJ and EE: What it is and why it matters
- Tony Paschall’s Slides (Oklahoma PLT/Oklahoma State Forest Service) - Environmental Justice for All, PLT’s Explore Your Environment pg. 233
- Delanie Bruce’s Slides (Nebraska PLT/WET, Bird Conservancy of the Rockies) - Sum of the Parts, Project WET Guide 2.0 pg. 283
- Tamara Freeman (EPA Region 7 Environmental Education Coordinator) - Environmental Justice (EJ) at EPA
- Audrey Webb’s slides (Nebraska PLT/WET Steering Committee, Nebraska Department of Education)
Strategic Planning Worksheet – please take some time to review, “make a copy,” and send a completed copy to Jack before the end of the year.
eSummit Evaluation – Click the link to complete a brief evaluation of the event. Everyone who participated or watches the recording is welcome to complete the evaluation.