Students collecting water samples

Big Three Takeaways: Results from a Regional Youth Water Education Needs Assessment

This week’s edition of The Current webinar series featured the Network’s youth water education team overviewing the results from their regional youth water education needs assessment.

Miss the webinar? Watch the full recording on our YouTube channel. Don’t have time to watch the recording? Not a problem – here are three big takeaways:

  • Justin Hougham, Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension, and Director of Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center discussed the reason behind the assessment and how the team went about collecting data. The goal of the assessment was to understand the current state of water education throughout the North Central Region, learn about current opportunities in water education, and where there are gaps.
  • Kristi Lekies, Associate Professor, The Ohio State University talked about how the team used both open and closed-ended questions to assess youth water education. To do so they looked at two different tiers of educators – those in extension and community partners involved in water education outside of extension. Results demonstrate that extension staff tend to focus their programming on 3-5 grade students, while external community partners are more distributed in the age groups they serve.
  • Zuzana Bohrerova, Research Scientist, The Ohio State University, and Associate Director of Ohio Water Resources Center discussed the findings of the open-ended questions from the team’s survey. Results demonstrate that experiential hands-on activities got youth the most excited about water education. Other programming components that were found to excite youth include experiential activities that included water access, place-based activities, and when students were able to connect the curriculum and activities to the larger world. The team also also found that program elements including curriculum and activities, the comprehensiveness of programming either in age-levels, frequency and length as well as funding were commonly mentioned as pieces missing from current programming.

You can watch the full webinar recording on the Network’s YouTube Channel and view the presentation slides in our media archive. For more information on the work presented in this webinar, please contact the presenters:

Justin Hougham –
Kristi Lekies –
Zuzana Bohrerova –

Photo by UW-Madison Division of Extension

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