A Public-Private Partnership Supporting Water Education
Over the past several years, water has become an increasingly critical challenge for many U.S. cities. Widespread drought, conflicts over water rights, stormwater management and other water-related issues have gained media attention and an important place on the agendas of public officials across the country.
Early in 2009, the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) began a new program aimed at creating a public-private partnership to leverage resources and expertise to bring a meaningful learning experience to a K-12 audience: Be Water Wise. Be Water Wise engages partners from the public, private and nonprofit sectors to raise awareness of local water challenges and improve water conservation and stormwater management in school buildings and grounds. Student-led Be Water Wise projects can result in significant reductions in costs and improved water management at participating schools, as well as increased engagement of the local community in developing solutions to water challenges.
Key components of Be Water Wise include:
- A strong partnership among government agencies, businesses, the public school system, nonprofit organizations and other local groups to provide a meaningful learning experience for students;
- A curriculum supplement designed around local water challenges and strongly correlated to local K-12 learning standards;
- Professional development for teachers and school facilities staff, led by experts in water management and technologies, on how to engage students in an investigation of current levels of water consumption and stormwater management in school facilities;
- Integration of water topics into lesson plans and activities across the K-12 curriculum;
- Involvement of students in an analysis of water use and stormwater management and in developing projects to improve water conservation or stormwater management at their schools;
- Grant-funded school projects to improve water conservation or stormwater management;
- Student presentations of the findings and projects to city officials; and
- Reporting and storytelling by teachers, students and partners in order to inform the development of a national Be Water Wise program model.
Be Water Wise Pilot Cities
Current Pilot: Be Water Wise DC
Thanks to lead sponsor HSBC Bank, students at 13 Washington, D.C. schools are solving local water challenges and learning how to protect and conserve local water resources this fall. For additional information visit the Be Water Wise DC program page.
Click on a city logo to learn more about the Be Water Wise pilot programs