Arizona Project WET: Water Education for Teachers

Research Year: 
2008
Issue: 

Water quality and availability in the arid West are issues that affect all Arizonans, including youth. By training teachers to present water awareness education in K-16 classrooms, Arizona Project WET (APW), administered through the University of Arizona's Water Resources Research Center, assists in building water-related decision making skills in both students and adults. APW is recognized as the only comprehensive water education program for K-16 audiences with a statewide partnership and delivery system.

Description of Action: 

Water education curricula were developed by water resource specialists working together with teachers and integrated into 6 school districts. In 2008, statewide water education programs involved 866 teachers reaching 84,975 students. Community Water Festivals use structured APW lessons that meet 4th grade water education standards, covering the water cycle, value of water and conservation, watersheds, and the ground water system. Since 2000 the festivals have instructed 26,453 4th grade students and 1,023 teachers in 18 Arizona communities. Also, 13 Arizona Conserve Water workshops held across Arizona involved 227 educators, reaching 16,882 students.

Impact: 

Survey data shows that 96 percent of the teachers participating in the statewide workshops “intend to become a better water steward as a result of this workshop” and 97 percent said the “workshop met my expectations and will have an impact on my teaching.” Volunteers provided 3,290 service hours delivering water festivals in 2008, a contribution valued at $64,187 (using Independent Sector value of $19.51). Among teachers, 98 percent agree that their students are more likely to conserve water after they attend a festival. Of 5,103 students participating in 10,206 contact hours of instruction, only 10 percent could correctly identify the location of groundwater before the festival. After the festival, 40 percent correctly understood that groundwater is found between grains of sand and gravel underground. A parent of a student who participated in a water audit program reported that her daughter had begun timing her showers, reminded her family about conserving water, and had “learned skills she will utilize her whole life.”

Conact Name: 
Kerry Schwartz
Contact E-mail: