Established in 2012, Water Rocks! (WR!) is an Iowa State University Extension and Outreach (ISUEO) youth water education program that seeks to raise the environmental literacy of our youth before they are in a position to make decisions. Through an integration of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and the arts, Water Rocks! challenges and inspires young people to think, learn and create in a world where boundaries are as blurry as the flow of water within a watershed. This proposal seeks funding to extend the Water Rocks! program beyond traditional youth classroom educators and the state of Iowa to partnering extension youth educators in Illinois, Missouri, and South Dakota, delivered via a 2-day Multi-State Water Rocks! Youth Education Summit.
Expanding the reach of this program across the North Central Region will enhance extension educators’ abilities to deliver outdoor and place-based youth education, while improving extension educator knowledge of and access to youth-tested and –approved environmental education tools, including technology and hands-on activities, to engage young people in discussion and activities related to water issues across the North Central Region. On the longer term, youth will demonstrate a higher level of water literacy, and in turn, greater understanding and willingness to make responsible future decisions that protect water and soil resources in the North Central Region and beyond.
We plan to partner with university extension youth programs in South Dakota, Missouri, and Illinois to conduct a 2-day professional development workshop. This workshop would offer training for their non-formal youth educators on a multitude of hands-on, interactive educational modules to help teach classroom lessons on water, soil, agriculture, environmental science, and more. This project addresses the need for additional collaboration in the North Central Region on youth water literacy and stewardship through providing the participating educators an opportunity to network with other youth outreach and education professionals from other states and exchanging ideas. Attendees will also have the opportunity to further their technical understanding of agricultural and environmental issues related to these topics through talks by Iowa State University faculty and staff working in these fields.
The Multi-State Water Rocks! Youth Education Summit was held on Nov. 8-9, 2016 at the Iowa State University Alumni Center in Ames, IA.
The Multi-State Water Rocks! Youth Education Summit was be modeled after the Iowa-based Water Rocks! Winter Summit held in December 2015. This is a 1-day professional development workshop offered training for non-formal educators on a multitude of hands-on, interactive educational modules to help teach classroom lessons on water, soil, agriculture, environmental science, and more.
Over the course of the previous five summits offered by Water Rocks!, one message prevailed: educating today’s youth about the importance of water will give them the knowledge to influence change when they become adult members of their communities.
Iowa State University