EE Week Guest Blogger Series: Do you know where the water in your town comes from?

This is the second post in our EE Week Guest Blogger Series. Read the previous entry, “Wondrous Wetlands,” by 4th grade teacher Tasha Kiemel of Sammamish, Washington, to learn more about how educators across the country are incorporating hands-on environmental field work into the curriculum.
 
Dave Wood teaches 8th grade Environmental Science at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC, and he serves on the National Environmental Education Week (EE Week) Teachers Advisory Committee. EE Week promotes understanding and protection of the natural world by actively engaging K-12th grade students and educators in an inspired week of environmental learning before Earth Day. This year’s EE Week celebration occurs April 12-18, 2009, and the theme is Be Water Wise! To learn more or get involved, visit www.eeweek.org.

After teaching 8th grade environmental science at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C. for over a decade, I came to realize that our students did not know some fundamental facts about the water upon which their lives depend.  For them, water just magically came out of the tap, and it had to be clean and healthy because, evidently, no one was getting sick from drinking it.  And, when my students dumped anything and everything down the drains or toilet, they assumed that, of course, the sewage treatment plant would take care of it all–because that’s why it was called a “treatment” plant.   Where their drinking water came from, how it was treated, and what happened to it after it was flushed down the drain; they couldn’t say.  And, I had to admit, neither could I.
 
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Dave taking his students out for some field research.

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BioBlitz: A 24-Hour Species Inventory

National Geographic will be exploring its own backyard this weekend with the Rock Creek Park BioBlitz in Washington, D.C. A BioBlitz is a 24-hour inventory of all plant and animal species within an urban park by teams of scientists, volunteers, and community members. You’d be suprised how exotic your neighborhood park can be. If you live in the area, come out and join us. Opening … Continue reading BioBlitz: A 24-Hour Species Inventory