Youth Water Education Needs Assessment

Project Background

Due to the global risk of the water crisis a significant number of resources are being invested in improving water quality and protecting precious water resources locally and globally.  With the increasing demand of agriculture, urban growth, and climate change on water quality, effective water management is critical.

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However, before water can be effectively managed a solid foundational knowledge of water resources, natural and anthropogenic influences, changing and emerging threats to water, and how local water issues affect world water supply is needed.  Evidence suggests that many Americans lack these foundational components. With water quality and water related issues being a world-wide issue, education of our future leaders is vital.

The youth working group of the North Central Region Water Network is committed to increasing the number of resources surrounding water education and activities for today’s youth. Without effective data on what programs and initiatives are currently in place throughout the region, collaboration and innovation lag. As such, the youth working group is working to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the programs and initiatives being conducted to educate youth throughout the region and compare those to best-practices for effective water-related youth programming to make evidence-based recommendations for youth water education.


The goal of this project is to:

  • Determine curriculum being used for youth water education being taught in the North Central Region by land grant universities and partners in the region
  • Identify curriculum that make youth knowledgeable, passionate, and active in water related issues
  • Identify placed-based education
  • Find gaps in program/curriculum either by age, stewardship or engagement


Amy Timmerman
Project Director, University of Nebraska-Lincoln