The University of Vermont Watershed Alliance (UVM WA) is an extension program founded in partnership with Lake Champlain Sea Grant and the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources. Our goal is to increase awareness and knowledge of watershed issues in Vermont youth.
UVM WA provides curriculum, equipment, and instructors to schools and youth groups participating in our programs, as well as support and guidance to teachers who wish to integrate watershed education into their current curriculum. UVM WA also provides internship opportunities to UVM undergraduate students who wish to gain valuable, hands-on experience and training in environmental education. Interns serve as Watershed Educators providing educational programming in schools and other academic settings throughout Vermont. All of our programs include both classroom and field components, and center on science as inquiry.
ENGAGE: Interactive classroom instruction.
Whether in the classroom or UVM’s Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory located on the waterfront in Burlington, the WA has the knowledge and tools to engage students in the scientific process. Our three dimensional watershed model, which helps students visualize a watershed and understand how humans impact water quality, is just one of the many resources available.
INQUIRE: Hands-on field science.
Students become “citizen scientists” as they learn about the scientific method and put it into practice in their own stream or lake study. Students gain a better understanding of aquatic ecosystems as they test chemical, biological, and physical parameters of a local stream using kick nets, identification keys, chemical test kits, and probes. Aboard the Melosira, the university’s state-of-the-art research vessel, students learn about scientific research conducted on Lake Champlain while collecting their own data.
EMPOWER: Community outreach and service.
Learning in a real-world context empowers students to take action. Students extend what they learned to the community through presentations and written materials, and contribute to watershed health though on-the-ground conservation service projects.