This project engages young people to participate in a stormwater management movement, a topic of increasing concern for the region, and empowers them to directly impact their communities through the installation of urban stormwater practices. It will increase understanding of the issues and build a community of youth leadership. See more information below on how your students can become Watershed Guardians.
Step 1: Field trip to Regional Urban Stormwater Demonstration Site in Postville, Iowa
The City of Postville and Northeast Iowa RC&D have teamed up to develop the Regional Urban Stormwater Demonstration Site in Postville, Iowa where several urban stormwater conservation practices have been installed along with bilingual interpretation of each practice. Upper elementary and middle school classes from around Northeast Iowa are invited to visit the demonstration site where they will engage in hands-on learning about the effects storm water runoff has on water quality and flooding. The site visit will include a tour of the grounds and interactive activities such as the EnviroScape, which illustrates point and non-point source pollution, and the Stream Table, which shows the behavior of water over different types of surfaces.
Students take part in activities offered at the Regional Urban Stormwater Demonstration Site.
Step 2: Participation in the cross-curricular Watershed Guardian Teacher’s Packet
After students visit the Regional Urban Stormwater Demonstration Site, teachers are encouraged to lead cross-curricular learning through the Teacher’s Packet. Lessons included in the Teacher’s Packet will help students understand the overall impacts of urban stormwater on flooding and water quality. The packet includes a mixture of indoor and outdoor, and visual and hands-on learning activities that apply to almost every student’s learning needs. Lessons in the Teacher’s Packet are transformed to reflect the Karst topography of Northeast Iowa. A pre and post assessment measures the students learning throughout the program. The teacher’s packet also includes project ideas and activities that will prepare them to implement their own stormwater project.
Step 3: Implementation of a Best Management Practice
Teachers who bring their classes to the Northeast Iowa Urban Stormwater Demonstration Site in Postville and complete section three of the Watershed Guardian Teacher’s Packet are eligible to apply for the Watershed Guardian Grants. Grants help classes implement stormwater practices at their school or in their community. There are two tiers of grant awards, one of up to $500, which may be used for smaller projects, and a competitive grant for up to $5,000. No match is required for either grant type. The larger grants will support classes in implementing storm water best management practices that measurably improve storm water runoff management at their school or in their community. All conservation practice development and installation will be overseen by the Northeast Iowa RC&D Environmental Education Specialist. Student participants will be recognized for the efforts through press releases to local newspapers and by earning a “Water Guardian” crest.
There will be special dates throughout the year in which any student may visit the Regional Urban Stormwater Demonstration Site without their school. These students will still be able to become a Watershed Guardian by implementing their own storm water management practice in their home or community without funding from the available grants. A picture of the individual during construction and with the finished project will be reported in order to become a Watershed Guardian.