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Scales of Inquiry

Explore watershed and water quality issues in a favorite place in the Lake Champlain Basin or in a remote corner of the world.

Quick Links

National Focus


Find your watershed anywhere in the US >>Go

US Environmental Protection Agency
Climate Change, Wildlife and Wildlands Toolkit for Formal and Informal Educators This kit, designed in partnership with six other federal agencies, is designed for middle school classroom teachers and informal educators. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in partnership with six other federal agencies, developed the kit to aid educators in teaching how climate change is affecting our nation’s wildlife and public lands, and how everyone can become climate stewards. Classroom activities keyed to national science standards, developed by participants in the 2008 Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program including a 12 minute video. >>Go

US Fish and Wildlife Service
Adopt- a- Salmon Watershed Curriculum
This curriculum, which connect language arts, math and science, helps students raise salmon in their classrooms while learning about the life cycle of the salmon and their dependence upon a clean and healthy watershed. More than 25 schools in the Lake Champlain watershed within New York and Vermont currently raise salmon in their classrooms. Though numerous partners participate, in NY, the Lake Champlain Chapter of Trout Unlimited provides direct classroom assistance to educators in support of this effort. >>Go

National Project Wet
Since 1984, Project WET, an award-winning 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has dedicated itself to reaching children, parents, teachers and community members of the world with water education. Project WET achieves its mission of worldwide water education by publishing water resource materials and providing training workshops on diverse water topics including watersheds, water quality, water conservation. The State of Vermont Project Wet Coordinator, Amy Picotte, has been a Champlain Basin Education Initiative partner for more than a decade. >>Go

National Wildlife Federation
To help reconnect today's children to the outdoors through its Be Out There initiative, NWF assists schools in developing outdoor classrooms called Schoolyard Habitats®, where educators and students learn how to attract and support local wildlife. >>Go

Great Lakes for My World
A 480-page curriculum unit for grades K-8 containing 80 activities, assessment rubrics for each activity and 60 Great Lakes Species Cards. Available from the Great Lakes Information Network. >>Go

Healthy Water, Healthy People Water Quality Educators Guide
This 200-page activity guide will help educators address science standards through 25 interactive activities that link priority water quality topics to real-life experiences of educators and students. >>Go


Exemplary Programs

Water Rocks!
Water Rocks! is a statewide youth water education campaign that fosters the interplay of knowledge, caring and engagement among Iowa’s youth that can lead to long-term multigenerational transformation of all Iowans. Through a combination of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and the arts, Water Rocks! challenges and inspires all Iowans towards a greater appreciation of our water resources. Water Rocks! is based on campus at Iowa State University. >>Go

Teaching the Hudson Valley
Launched in 2003, THV helps educators discover, appreciate, and share the region's natural, historic, and cultural treasures with children and youth. THV fosters collaboration among schools, museums, parks, historic sites, art galleries, libraries, and other groups. THV's growing collection of free K-12 lesson plans uses significant Valley sites to teach virtually all subjects. >>Go

LaBranche Wetland Watchers
Louisiana Teacher Barry Guillot recognized for creating service learning opportunities on the Gulf of Mexico for grades 5-7. Learn about how he formed partnerships with no grant money the first year to address wildlife and wetland conservation issues. >>Go
Learn more about Barry and other service projects at Edutopia >>Go

Chesapeake Classroom
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation created a K-12 professional development program for each bay state, student programs, on-line, written and audio resources for teaching about the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The on-line resources are really terrific. >>Go
Read more about the cultural heritage issues and settlement patterns of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. >>Go

When teachers from San Anselmo, CA, California began the Shrimp Project, a student project designed to help save an endangered species through restoration and public outreach, it blossomed. The Shrimp Project has now evolved into the Students and Teachers Restoring A Watershed (STRAW) project utilizing project based learning, and about kids taking on the impossible. This is project of the PRBO Conservation Science. >>Go

Cool School Challenge, K-12, Puget Sound Clean Air
The Cool School Challenge is an educational program intended to engage students and teachers in practical strategies to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions schoolwide. Teachers/students take the school pledge, generate a clean air action plan, monitor their results and share with each other. Professional Developments workshops offered yearly. (Linked to Puget Sound Clean Air) >>Go

Welikia Project in NEW YORK CITY: Manhattan
Students use maps and images to understand the basic idea of comparing the natural history of 1609 Mannahatta with the urbanized present of Manhattan. The lessons plans are geared for elementary-age children but adaptable to older students and other geographic regions. The interdisciplinary approach incorporates math, history, science and language arts and examines how humans have affected the movement of water and the environment. >>Go

Bright Futures Project (Truckee High School)
The Truckee High School Envirolution Club’s innovative Trashion Show is an annual highlight at Squaw Valley’s Earth Day. The Trashion Show helps the club get its message out to elementary and middle school students with the shows, sprinkled with pop culture, modern music, conservation tools, and a lot of creativity. Each person in attendance also receives a free conservation kit from the Truckee Donner Public Utility District. The Club is sponsored by Sierra Watershed Education Partnerships. >>Go

City-Dwelling Salamanders: New York City Dept of Parks and Recreation Pairs Middle School Students for Salamander Research
In an ambitious citizen-science project, the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation has enlisted scores of seventh graders from public and private schools to study salamanders in the wild — or what passes for the wild in New York. Highly sensitive to changes in the environment, salamanders are also important indicators of overall forest condition. >>Go



Water Quality/Clean Water-United States

The United (Watershed) States of America>>Go to blog post

Classroom Guidelines for Preventing the Introduction and Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS)>>Go to guidelines;

The GoodGuide's Scorecard for Water Quality. An overview of the issues that threaten water quality in the United States >>Go to Scorecard

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) online resource for water and pollution issues >>Go to website

Climate Lab's wiki provides collaboratively developed information on the controversial practice of hydrofracturing >>Go to wiki

MSNBC reports on an Associated Press investigation of the presence of pharmaceuticals in U.S. drinking water. >>Go to story

Access to Clean Water/Water Wars

"Many of the wars this century were about oil, but those of the next century will be over water."

World Bank Vice-President Dr. Ismail Serageldin, 1995

Water Wars: An Introduction to the Law of the River – Dividing the River legal history presentations examined how the river has been perceived by most westerners as a resource to sustain transportation, irrigation, and "urban archipelagoes" such as Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. The "rights" theme embodies how notions of ownership, use, and access are understood and played out in the West, and how these notions are interpreted through different historical, philosophical, legal, and cultural lenses. By looking at the Colorado River, the Moving Waters project helped the public gain an understanding of how western communities try to regulate flow for sustained existence, predicated on the knowledge that growth will continue and that the Colorado River is central to the West's population expansion. >>Go to Moving Waters

"85 Year Old “War” Over Colorado River Water Ends" – It’s been going on since 1922, seven western states staking their claims on Colorado River Water. For years, a sometimes divisive battle has raged as Colorado, Utah, California, Arizona, Wyoming, Nevada and New Mexico all said they weren’t getting their share of the precious liquid. It came to an end in Las Vegas, when representatives of the seven states inked their signatures to a 20 year water-use agreement that now supersedes the 1922 pact. >>Go to Planetsave article

Wessell’s Living History Farm located in Nebraska, this Living History Farm has a website featuring several articles about farming in the 1950’s and 1960’s. It summarizes international water wars and state water wars, the impacts of irrigation and the resulting implications on ground and surface water supplies. >>Go to website

Flooding/Intense Weather

Teaching The Levees is a resource to support dialogue and civic engagement centered on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. >>Go to website

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
NOAA's website is a good resource for nationwide weather data. >>Go

Climate Change

Project BudBurst – This site, hosted by UCAR, is the national phonology and climate change field campaign for citizen scientists. It provides excellent and accessible background information on phenology, climate change, and regional plants of interest. In addition to simple, yet excellent plant and tree identification information it offers classroom activities and implementation guides for how to incorporate this applied national research to classrooms K-12 – and beyond. >>Go to Project BudBurst

The University of North Carolina's Power a Nation reported on an Alaskan village forced to relocate as a result of rising sea level and melting permafrost. >>Go to story