Help Whet Kids’ Appetite for Watershed Conservation

Ashley Spratt, FWS

When students in my suburban hometown entered seventh grade, we took a trip to explore the ecosystem of the Fox River — the tributary that divided our town in half.

Children that grew up in the area knew how the wildlife that lived along the river were endangered by toxins in the watershed.

With help from our science teacher, we also learned how whole chains of animals thrived because of this river–from the mayflies and crawfish to small mammals.

After trudging home full of river mud, we felt compelled to revitalize our river and assure that the water would be cleaner for the next generation of students.

Teaching children about the watershed in their area helps them understand the importance of caring for their local water supply.

Whether they can walk alongside a prominent river or if they must venture out to see a small creek, they must understand water does not begin and end in their faucet.

Currently, U.S. representatives are working on a bill to promote environmental literacy on watersheds. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has already implemented the Bay-Watershed Education and Training and Environmental Literacy Grant programs, but it needs support to reach more youth.

So, please take a moment today to urge your representative to support this bill to increase environmental education programs in communities across the nation.

By Kolleen Kawa, National Wildlife Federation

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Published: November 3, 2009