Teaching students about water

Do you know what a watershed is? How many are there in Santa Clara County? If you are a student, and our education outreach team has visited your classroom, you know the answer!

A watershed is all the land that “sheds” water into a body of water, like a creek or a river. In Santa Clara County we have five main watershed areas: Guadalupe, Coyote, Uvas/Llagas, West Valley and Lower Peninsula.

Our job at Valley Water is not only to manage our water system and treatment plants but also to protect our community from flooding and take care of our streams, creeks, reservoirs, and groundwater.  That’s why we spend a lot of time in classrooms teaching our students about water so they can be the water stewards of the future. Inspiring the next generation to make water protection and conservation a way of life is a big part of our goal of ensuring water stays abundant, safe and clean.

Students from pre-school to college love seeing our fun and engaging educators walk into their classrooms along with our puppets, books and other age-appropriate tools.  Our student presentations are hands-on; they can include puppets and storytelling, experiments and activities. We cover everything from water basics, to conservation, habitat protection, and flood readiness advice. With our older students, we go further and discuss the issues facing California’s water supply system, water quality standards and potential pollutants.

The Education Outreach Program also offers tours of Valley Water’s Outdoor Classrooms. While immersed in our outdoor settings, students can observe how the information they’ve learned applies to real places near their homes in Santa Clara Valley.

We recently started using technology to move into the classrooms of the future. Our education staff has started using video conferencing tools to reach students remotely through the web.

The students who have participated in our free age-appropriate sessions, really become engaged as water ambassadors in their communities. A group of twelve third grade girls from Santa Clara started a project to save water, by distributing shower timers through their Girl Scout troop. Avin, a first-grade student at Gussie M. Baker Elementary School in San Jose, has become an indispensable volunteer at our river and creek cleanup events. Many are rethinking their use of disposable plastics and considering the impact that trash has on our water supply.

Teachers are most welcome to use our fun and engaging resources to plan lessons. Download videos, songs, games, trivia and other materials here.

If you would like for our team to visit your Santa Clara County classroom in person or remotely, see our education brochure and email us at education@valleywater.org. We look forward to sharing our world of water with your students!

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