National Environmental Education Week 2010 Focuses on Water-Energy Nexus

Author: Bevan Griffiths-Sattenspiel

National Environmental Education Week (EE Week) is the largest organized environmental education event in the United States. EE Week's 2010 theme is “Be Water and Energy Wise,” which means that thousands of K-12 educators across the country will be informing their students on the importance of the water-energy nexus and the enormous potential to save energy by saving water.

Each year, EE Week increases the educational impact of Earth Day by creating a full week of educational preparation, learning, and activities in K-12 classrooms, nature centers, zoos, museums, and aquariums. The event is organized by the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) and will be taking place April 11-17, 2010.

I first learned about National EE Week this past November when Jessica Culverhouse, the Program Manager for EE Week, asked me what I thought about focusing a national K-12 education event on the connections between water and energy. I enthusiastically supported the idea but warned that it might be difficult to find enough information tailored for K-12 students on the water-energy nexus.

Despite this challenge, Ms. Culverhouse was able to put together a great website with links to a number resources on The Water-Energy Connection (including some resources from River Network).

It will be exciting to see all of the creative ways that educators are going to teach their students about the connections between water and energy – and even more exciting to see the wonderful projects that the students produce. As Ms. Culverhouse explained this week in an email:

Thousands of educators around the country have begun planning EE Week activities on the water and energy theme. Some are planning school water and energy audits in math and science classes. Geography and social studies teachers are organizing research projects about the sources of fresh water around the globe and the energy required to transport it. Others have developed projects in which students express the water and energy connection through art and poetry.

To learn more about the event, visit the EE Week Homepage. If you are a K-12 educator interested in participating in EE Week, don’t forget to register. By registering to take part in EE Week, you will receive:

  • Certificates of Participation;
  • Monthly e-newsletters packed with EE resources for educators;
  • Access to an online library of environmental curricula and EE resources;
  • Opportunities to network and communicate with other educators who have successfully integrated environmental education into the curriculum;
  • The opportunity to participate in EE Week's spring 2010 webinar on new EE resources and current environmental research;
  • Discounts and special offers for educational materials.

I’m extremely excited to hear that K-12 students across the country will be learning about the water-energy connection. Educating young students on environmental issues is a time-tested and effective way to help our society as whole understand the often complicated concepts around environmental challenges.

I still remember the “Recycle, Reduce, Reuse” jingle that got stuck in my head way back in the fifth grade while watching a video on keeping trash out of landfills. Although I didn’t know it at the time, events like EE Week helped establish my environmental ethic and allowed me to bring important messages around sustainability and stewardship back home to my parents. Even today it seems that anytime I consider throwing a can or plastic bottle into the trash – you know, when you can’t find a recycling bin – the recycle, reduce and reuse song comes to mind and makes me second guess my decision to throw away a recyclable.

Maybe this year somebody will come up with a catchy “Saving Water, Saves Energy” jingle that I can sing in the shower.

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