Watershed Science Grant Connects Teachers with Researchers

By Ashley Eaton, Watershed and Lake Education Coordinator
February 08, 2023

Lake Champlain Sea Grant recently received an education grant from the Lake Champlain Basin Program to create the Watershed Alliance Teacher and Researcher Partnership (WATR).

This new partnership will support middle and high school teachers employed by schools in the Lake Champlain basin in Vermont and New York and help them foster stronger connections with researchers to integrate watershed science into their classrooms. The year-long program includes hands-on learning opportunities aboard the R/V Marcelle Melosira, the University of Vermont (UVM) state-of-the-art research vessel; involvement in ongoing water research projects; and development of educational materials and lesson plans.

Although there is no cost to participate, space is limited, so teachers will be selected through an application process using an online WATR registration form. Applications will be accepted  until February 24, 2023, and successful applicants will be notified by mid-March.

Priority will be given to teachers from schools with a high percentage of students receiving free or reduced lunch and/or with diverse student bodies. Teaching teams are encouraged to sign up together.

Once accepted, if a disability-related accommodation is needed to participate, teachers should contact Ashley Eaton at (802) 391-4410 or akeaton [at] uvm.edu by May 1.

Participants will receive a stipend for their time and purchase of supplies to implement their lessons. Graduate credits are available, although teachers are responsible for paying the applicable tuition fees.

The intensive summer session, July 31–August 4, will take place at several locations, including the R/V Marcelle Melosira and UVM's Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory at the bottom of College Street in Burlington. Teachers will work alongside researchers to conduct field assessments, water quality monitoring, and limnological sampling of Lake Champlain and learn about the watershed's unique characteristics.

During this initial week, participants also will begin to brainstorm ideas for a watershed STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) based unit and be matched with a researcher to collaborate on development of their new curriculum. After being piloted in the classroom, these individual lessons and corresponding materials will be compiled into a larger curriculum to be shared with other teachers in the Lake Champlain basin.