The BioBlog: Watersheds
By Jonathan Witt; Senior Education Director

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This year we celebrate the Ocean Institute’s Watershed Education Program’s 13th year!  With grateful thanks to the generous support of Miocean and the Massen Greene Foundation, over 25,000 fifth graders, from communities throughout Southern California, have been inspired to empower themselves, their schools, and their communities to be responsible stewards of our environment.

This three-part program first trains the teachers to engage students in classroom curriculum supporting the fieldtrip experience.  The second phase is the student field trip where students are learning in labs and on our research vessel about the science of watersheds.  The students use this field experience as the basis for the third part of the program, a community-focused research project.  This team project is presented at the Ocean Institute’s annual Kids’ Conferences on Watersheds.  Teachers, students, parents and community leaders attend the conference and are inspired to hear the innovative approaches and programs these student teams have developed to help protect our watersheds.

With the support and funding from the Massen Greene Foundation, the Ocean Institute is primed to intensify the program for our participating schools.  This year we are adding fourth grade students to introduce scientific concepts earlier and heighten the experience for when they become next year’s fifth graders.  With this two year approach we look forward to a more immersive, hands on experience for these fifth grade future scientists. 

The Ocean Institute’s Watershed program will continue to grow and flourish due to the generous support from Pat Fuscoe and the Robert West Foundation who have earmarked funds for this important environmental initiative. 

 Jonathan Witt is Senior Education Director at Ocean Institute. For more information about our Watershed and other Distance Learning Programs, click here.