Division of Water Invites Educators to get WET

The Kentucky Division of Water (DOW) has assumed state sponsorship of Project WET, an interdisciplinary water science and education program for formal and non-formal educators of students in kindergarten through grade 12 and adults.

The program was previously sponsored by the Kentucky Environmental Education Council (KEEC).

“I am thrilled that the Division of Water is increasing its commitment to educating teachers, students and the general public about water by becoming the Project WET state coordinator,” said Elizabeth Schmitz, KEEC executive director. “KEEC will continue to support Project WET by working with DOW as needed, during and after this transition.”

The goal of Project WET, an acronym for Water Education for Teachers, is to provide scientifically accurate and educationally sound water resources education materials, training courses and networking services to citizens, organizations, governments and corporations.

Michelle Shane is the Project WET host coordinator at DOW.

“Water education has never been more important,” said Shane. “We need to better understand our connections to water so our communities are equipped to handle the many water issues we are facing today, and will face in the future. By understanding the real value of water, we can make decisions individually and collectively to better manage, conserve and protect this valuable resource.”

The primary tool of the program is the newly revised Project WET Curriculum and Activity Guide 2.0, a 592-page book containing 64 interactive and classroom-ready activities, varied lesson plans, cross-reference tables, indices and a substantial glossary. The activities are grounded in science and are cross-curricular in nature, addressing the chemistry of water, functionality of watersheds, and such contemporary issues as water systems, resource management, water quality, water conservation, land-use planning and wetlands.

Shane emphasizes the “user-friendly” nature of the Project WET literature.

“Materials and activities span all disciplines, including language arts, math, science, music, history, government and art as well as other subject areas,” said Shane. “The guide is designed to make it easy to locate and apply a particular activity in the classroom or as a field-day event. The activities are hands-on, self-contained, fun and easy to use. Moreover, many of the activities are aligned to current national Common Core Standards.”

Persons interested in using Project WET activities can request a Sampler Training course to learn more about the materials offered and gain access to seven activities. To use the full Curriculum and Activity Guide 2.0 and gain access to the online Protect WET Portal resources, individuals must become certified in the project by attending a full-day Project WET workshop.

Additionally, with the release of the 2011 2.0 guide, the Project WET national office is requesting that persons previously certified take a refresher course to use or teach the newest version of the materials.

For further information on obtaining first-time or refresher training in Project WET, email Michelle Shane at ProjectWET@ky.gov or call the Division of Water at 502-564-3410.