From the Vatican to Papua New Guinea, Kentucky to California, 2017 was full of exciting people and places engaged in water education using Project WET. The following curated list offers the 17 most important stories for Project WET in 2017, told chronologically. To see all the year’s news, you can check out our media page. Happy holidays, and all the best in 2018!
Ecolab Volunteers in Germany Launch Clean and Conserve with Festival for 100 Students: A hundred students from a local primary school attended the first Clean and Conserve water festival held in Germany. The event—which followed a training for 25 Ecolab employees to lead the festival—marked the launch of the German-language version of the Clean and Conserve Education Program.1.
2. Lessons from the Headwaters: A pilot partnership between the city of Bozeman and the Project WET Foundation has significantly increased public awareness of both stormwater management and water conservation by targeting young people with interactive, science-based activities about stormwater.
3. Farming and Teaching Family’s Donation Funds New Water, Agriculture and Food Publication for Kids: About 80 percent of people in the United States live in urban areas today, meaning kids are less likely to have a personal connection with agriculture—and therefore may have little understanding about how water relates to food. To help address this knowledge gap, the Project WET Foundation is developing a new "Water, Agriculture and Food" children’s activity booklet.
On World Water Day 2017, Project WET Advocates for Water Education at the Vatican: Project WET participated in WATERSHED, a series of events streamed live from the Vatican on World Water Day. WATERSHED was launched following a Papal Audience with Pope Francis and included Project WET water education resources.4.
5. Educators in Papua New Guinea Tackle Water Issues With New Project WET Materials: Some 20 local educators learned new ways to teach kids about water using a Project WET module customized for Papua New Guinea. The new booklet has seven activities covering a variety of water topics, including the water cycle, water quality, watershed protection and water, sanitation and hygiene.
Project WET Board Member Chosen for 2018 International Space Station Crew: Ricky Arnold is among five NASA astronauts who have been assigned to upcoming spaceflights. Arnold, a Project WET Foundation Board of Directors member since 2011, will join another NASA astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut for International Space Station Expeditions 55 and 56 to launch in March 2018.6.
7. Members of Levi’s Service Corps use Project WET activities to engage with factory in Mexico: Project WET staff took part in the Levi Strauss & Co. Service Corps program in Mexico in April. The program is designed to teach LS&Co. employees about the work and lives of the people who make Levi’s products. Approximately 14 local school teachers, 15 LS&Co. employees and five factory staff were trained to teach students about water using Project WET activities about water conservation and water, sanitation and hygiene.
LS&CO. Celebrates Schools That Save Water: In 2016, Levi Strauss & Co., Scholastic and the Project WET Foundation delivered water impact education to around 1.5 million U.S. elementary school children. As part of the curriculum, students had the opportunity to bring a water-saving idea to life at their own school via an entry sweepstakes. Over 800 entries were received! Fulton Elementary School, in of San Diego, California, won the grand prize.8.
9. Teaching Children to Protect Water: A Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA) employee, Heather Hess, has taken time each year since 2015 to organize a World Water Day festival using Project WET activities at the NWNA headquarters office in Stamford, CT.
10. Engaging Kids in Need and Giving Back to the Community: Rob Griffith, a Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA) employee who grew up a child in need, is now using Project WET to teach kids in urban, low-income schools about water. In addition, he has also helped nurture an innovative partnership with local law enforcement to incorporate water education into community events.
11. Getting Little Feet Wet Garners Awards and Recommendations: Project WET’s new water education guide for early childhood educators has been officially endorsed by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). In addition, Independent Publisher magazine has selected the new guide for a Moonbeam Children’s Book award.
Changing Perspectives About Water: Angie Olaya, a facilitator in Colombia, says that Project WET has helped her educate all kinds of people about the importance of water, creating new spaces to implement activities and initiating new educational programs, in companies, universities, business organizations, and more schools and water utilities.12.
13. Outdoor educator and Americorps Volunteer Teaches Thousands About Water: A California educator named Ian Taylor has attended four Project WET trainings in three different states. He says Project WET has helped him in his career as an outdoor educator, during which he estimates he has reached several thousand people.
14. Ecolab’s E3 Group Recognized as WaterStars: E3 is an employee resource group at Ecolab focused on empowering, engaging and energizing Ecolab to measurably accelerate the advancement of women leaders to drive business growth. The community outreach committee within E3 has held three successful Clean and Conserve events with one more planned with a local STEM magnet school later this year.
Whetting Kids’ Appetites for STEAM: A teacher from North Carolina, Jason Vanzant, has been using Project WET in the brand-new science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) lab he has been developing with the help of a grant from Lowe’s Education Toolbox.15.
16. Water Education TV Launches: This fall, Project WET launched a new video series called Water Education TV. The episodes are designed to help educators of all kinds bring common water topics into their classrooms in fun, hands-on ways.
17. Complete NGSS Correlations Now Available for Guide 2.0: All 64 activities in the Project WET Curriculum and Activity Guide 2.0 have been fully correlated to the Next Generation Science Standards. The NGSS are designed to ensure that all students have a solid K–12 science education that prepares them for college and careers. Educators can now use Project WET activities to move toward that goal.