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International Joint Commission - April 22, 2020

Kevin Bunch - Reprinted with permission

One approach to fostering environmental stewardship is to get people involved in water activities as children. An educational initiative by Genesee Riverwatch in upstate New York has been doing exactly that by helping teachers get students excited about their local Genesee River.

Chris Widmaier, a Rochester-based science teacher and member of Riverwatch’s Aquatic Education Initiative steering committee, said the organization received a $20,000 grant from the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute in 2017. Riverwatch members discussed how they could build an educational program to connect K-12 students with the river system, how rivers are impacted by human activities and the different types of human communities along their courses. In turn, Riverwatch leaders hoped, this would get children and their families to take a greater role in protecting the waterway.

Click to read the rest of the article on the IJC website

To build a network of aquatic educators, teachers, administrators, and community groups that will work as partners to increase stewardship of our regional aquatic ecosystems through formal and informal education. We will leverage the network to increase access to existing aquatic education programs by a more diverse audiences and, through new collaborations, build programs that address gaps. Our focus is the Genesee River and neighboring watersheds to benefit communities across the region.

The network facilitates professional development and networking and maintains this web-based clearinghouse for sharing resources and opportunities and is a critical part of the new Genesee River Institute. Click here to see our Highlighted Resources.

Any teacher, administrator, neighborhood association, scout group, church, individual, or other group that wants to make a commitment to aquatic ecosystem stewardship. You can utilize the available resources of the Aquatic Education Network or utilize the formal or informal educational opportunities provided by our aquatic educators.

*Funding provided by the NYS Pollution Prevention Institute through a grant from the Environmental Protection Fund as administered by the New York State Department of Conservation.  Any opinions, findings and/or interpretation of data contained herein are the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the opinions, interpretations or policy of Rochester Institute of Technology and its NYS Pollution Prevention Institute or the State. 

Any individual, group or organization who provides formal or informal education and outreach to K-12 school groups, college students, camps, community organizations, service learning teams, families, or individuals about stewardship of our aquatic resources, including pollution prevention, water quality, ecology, biodiversity, and sustainability.

Visit the Aquatic Educators page to find more information about what is available in the Rochester and Finger Lakes region.

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