Education

Clean water education programs put our youth in the center of science, decision-making and our community. They will grow up knowing how to care for our water and strengthen our environment.

Students learn how pollution from many sources impact our waterways. 
The Cumberland County Soil &; Water Conservation District implements clean water education programs on behalf of fourteen Southern Maine municipalities (collectively known as the Interlocal Stormwater Working Group). Students receive hands-on, interdisciplinary lessons about water both outdoors and in the classroom. Lessons focus on the role water plays in our ecosystem and community and students’ ability to make an impact.

Students also participate in service learning projects. These programs focus on science, while also instilling transferable life skills that will create citizens with critical thinking, communication, and stewardship skills.

Students examine life in the Presumpscot River in Windham
Outdoor field studies include conducting tests to determine how clean water is and collecting critters, known as macroinvertebrates, that are used to determine the health of local waterways. Experiences in the field connect children to nature in a way that can only happen outdoors. A strong connection with nature inspires children to protect our resources.  



A student from Falmouth Middle School topdresses her school's courtyard with compost.
Service Learning
Lawn care products (fertilizers and weed and bug killers) are a leading threat to the health of Casco Bay. The Youth YardScaping Program teaches students learn how certain lawn care products can affect water quality. They form a lawn care “company” and become experts in healthy lawn care methods. Students conduct independent research projects on lawn care practices, implement their research on school grounds, observe an experiment to learn the effects of lawn care products on water and present all of this to a public audience. Be on the lookout for the students’ public presentations and exhibits in May and June of 2013!

A student participating in Windham's Ecocentricity program uses
a chart to identify macroinvertebrates found in the Pleasant River.
Ecocentricity is in its fourth year at Windham High and Middle schools. In an effective intergenerational approach, a class of honors earth science students design lessons that they then teach to the entire sixth grade class over two days. The lesson take place outdoors and focus on water in a way that encourages the younger students to consider their impact on the environment.

Support of the Urban Runoff will help continue and expand these programs and others like them!