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New task force aims to increase K-12 students’ watershed education, stewardship

A new statewide K-12 environmental education task force aims to teach children about the watershed they live in and how to protect freshwater resources.
A new statewide K-12 environmental education task force aims to teach children about the watershed they live in and how to protect freshwater resources. Centre Daily Times, file

A new statewide K-12 environmental education task force aims to teach children about the watershed they live in and how to protect freshwater resources.

The 20-member Pennsylvania Watershed Education Task Force is funded by a $300,000 grant from the Chesapeake Bay Program Office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, according to a press release from the state Department of Environmental Protection, which will play a lead role in the task force.

“Many people don’t know what a watershed is,” DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell said in the release. “We’re excited to collaborate with environmental education leaders statewide to help change that, starting with young students.

“The earlier people learn how human actions affect their local network of streams and rivers, the better our chances of preventing and reducing water pollution.”

The task force will work to improve students’ watershed education and stewardship by training about 400 educators; developing environmental literacy-focused partnerships and a network of watershed education providers; increasing the number of NOAA Bay Watershed Education and Training grant proposals; and supporting and delivering Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience programming, providing local, hands-on watershed learning experiences, according to the release.

The Stroud Water Research Center heads the task force, the release said. DEP is joined on the leadership team by the state Department of Education, Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Educators, state Bureau of State Parks and Millersville University.

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