NOAA Bay Watershed Education and Training Program overview

NOAA Bay Watershed Education and Training Program overview


Protecting our oceans and coasts and
watersheds, and even our rivers, is part of NOAA’s mission. All over the country
multiple regions are dealing with different environmental challenges. And we’re not the only ones are gonna have to deal with it the kids are as they
grow up so they need to see: what does it look like now? How do we make it better?
And then, how do we then adapt for what our future is going to look like? The NOAA B-WET program is an environmental education program that provides locally
relevant opportunities for youth and also for teachers and ideas to get
teachers and kids out into the environment and learning and meaningful
ways about why these issues are happening, why it’s important to protect
them, and give them the tools and techniques that they need to move
forward and have an environmental future. The B-WET program supports MWEEs, so,
Meaningful Watershed Education Experiences. What it tries to do is try to
get students out of the classroom. If you want to learn about the environment the best
way is to be in the environment. We want all students to have meaningful watershed experiences. They can’t do that without the support and the resources and so NOAA provided the
funding. And that in turn developed into this grant program –
the NOAA B-WET program. People will protect something they understand and they’ll only
understand something to get to experience. So by being hands-on with
this process, by going out there seeing the water, seeing the test results, and
getting that training, they are going to be far deeper invested into the future
of this area and the future of the waterways here. Our program in Hawaii might look much different than the program in California,
a program in the Gulf of Mexico, but we have national standards and national
perspectives that all connect. But each one is tailored directly to the
community that it’s serving. If I didn’t have this program I have no idea where I
would look. Using these real-life experiences I saw a huge shift in my
students. By working with teachers through the NOAA B-WET program, I think
we’re giving teachers confidence and the power to then go back with their
students and teach them about this environment. We didn’t want to just educate
and then have them come out and monitor and get data for data sake. We actually
help students and teachers make a difference in the streams that creeks
they’re visiting. They’re learning how to be critical thinkers and are asking the
kinds of questions that are going to lead to research projects that find us
solutions to some of our biggest problems. They’re learning by doing and
taking action and feeling like they’re part of a bigger contribution to science.
Students that come out of a B-WET program are provided with high quality
education that gives them encouragement, gives them empowerment, gives them the
ability to know and to connect to their environment, and really gives them a
voice.

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