6D – Education and Outreach
Implement educational programs to provide greater understanding of watersheds, to raise awareness and increase the use of applicable management measures and practices for wetlands and riparian areas, and to promote projects that retain or reestablish natural hydrologic functions. Public education, outreach, and training programs should involve user groups and the community.
Recommended practices include the following:
- Develop fact sheets, brochures, and flyers on the importance of wetlands and riparian areas.
- Develop greater public and agency staff understanding of natural hydrologic systems–including their functions and values, how they are lost, and the choices associated with their protection and restoration.
- Work with private landowners to encourage the preservation of wetland and riparian areas.
- Develop education programs for grade school children.
- Promote restoration of degraded wetland and riparian areas by volunteer and community groups.
- Adopt-A-Watershed is a K-12 school-community learning experience. Adopt-A-Watershed uses a local watershed as a living laboratory in which students engage in hands-on activities, making science applicable and relevant to their lives. It develops collaborative partnerships and reinforces learning through community service.
- Clean Water Team Citizen Monitoring Program is part of the SWRCB’s NPS Pollution Control Program. Regional coordinators provide technical assistance, training, data management consultation, outreach, and education to citizen monitoring organizations. The program provides an opportunity for the public to participate in stewardship efforts and learn about the issues facing their local watersheds.
- CSUMB, Return of the Natives Restoration Education Project (RON) Restoration Education Project is a project of Creative Environmental Conservation, a 501©3 nonprofit. It is the education and outreach branch of the Watershed Institute of the California State University Monterey Bay. RON is a community- and school-based environmental education project dedicated to involving students (kindergarten through university) in native plant and habitat restoration projects in the schoolyard and the community.
- California Coastal Commission’s New Science Activity Guide: Waves, Wetlands, and Watersheds is a classroom and community activity guide that addresses issues such as endangered species, marine debris, coastal geology, water use, and much more. It is carefully aligned to the California State Science Content Standards for grades 3 through 8, and includes "Community Action" lessons adaptable to all ages up to and beyond grade 12. The guide is available for free from the California Coastal Commission.
- California Regional Environmental Education Community is an online network is a source of environmental education resources, with links to curriculum and a statewide searchable research directory.
- Council of State Governments, Getting in Step: A Guide to Effective Outreach in Your Watershed is an online training module that provides guidance on the development of an outreach program. Downloadable worksheets are provided for use in the planning process.
- CSUMB, Watershed Institute, consists of a direct action community-based coalition of researchers, restoration ecologist, educators, planners, students, and volunteers. The Web site offers links to watershed-related publications, courses, watershed studies, the Return of the Natives Restoration Education Project, and the Bureau of Land Management’s Watershed and Riparian Assessment Report.
- University of Wisconsin Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, Best Education Practices Project helps natural resource management and outreach professionals to choose appropriate education techniques and resources for their water management programs. The Best Education Practices project will work in collaboration with the federal agency clean and safe water partnership and other networks to develop and promote best education practices for water education and to improve access to education resources and strategies. Project activities reflect advice provided by federal agency clean and safe water partners and a national network of water education organizations created and supported by the work of several national organizations over the last decade. Projects have included a 2002 Study of Provider Needs, Model Education Technique, a literature search, Best Education Practices Pilot Web site, and other reference materials related to water outreach education.
- USEPA Watershed Academy offers 50 self-paced training modules that represent a basic and broad introduction to the watershed management field. The module themes include introduction/overview, watershed ecology, watershed change, analysis and planning, management practices, and community/social/water law. Several wetland-related modules are available, such as Stream Corridor Restoration Tools.