The Coastal Management Program provides funding for Increasing Water Quality and Quantity through Watershed Experiential Education in Texas Estuaries (WaterIQWet) purpose is to engage 2,000 students, 80 classrooms, and 40 teachers in experiential learning that results in formal understanding of water quality and water quantity issues facing estuarine environments on the Texas coast in the context of multiple issues regarding human use and behaviors that impact water quality creating multiple educators with experiences and outreach tools to promote attitudinal and behavioral changes among their community members.
WaterIQWet will provide the middle school learners in the Coastal Bend and Bays and Galveston Bay estuarine system over an 18-month period in Galveston and Nueces Counties the following components of programming:
1) Eco-Art Workshops (80 two-hour sessions in class), that provide hands-on activities demonstrating the benefits of water quality and quantity to humans and ecosystems, multiple uses of estuarine systems, flora and fauna of local systems, and historical perspectives of estuarine systems; discussion about human influences on the water quality and quantity affecting estuaries; and introduction to the Eco-Art Adventure interpreted tours at The Nature Conservancy Cohn Preserve and the Artist Boat Coastal Heritage Preserve.
2) Eco-Art Adventures (80 four and 1/2-hour adventures), field labs via kayak that provide application of hands-on, real-world interactions that combine science and art in interpretation of the current status of water quality and quantity to the estuary; water quality testing; interactions with restored and natural marshes interpreted by a marine scientists and a artist guiding participants in the interpretation of their experience and the wetland ecosystem through the use of watercolors insitu; and discussion designed to reinforce the knowledge and awareness of the major functions of wetlands, multiple uses of estuaries, interpretation of water quality testing information to evaluate abiotic and biotic physical parameters, economic benefits to humans provided by estuaries, and formation of vocabulary utilized by natural resource managers.
3) Coastal Waters Institute and Curriculum (CWI) (two summer professional development sessions of 4 days in length for 40 teachers) that provide in-service credit for middle school faculty from the Corpus Christi and Galveston area Independent School Districts. The CWI will train middle school teacher to utilize experiential learning cycles, Artist Boat’s Coastal Bend and Bays Watershed Coastal Waters Institute Environmental Curriculum and the Galveston Bay Watershed Coastal Waters Institute Environmental Curriculum, natural resource managers for access to current information and issues, water quality sampling to interpret data that reveals the abiotic factors influencing biotic factors, and the Eco-Art Program to launch further learning in the classroom that is place-based and dependent on the acquisition of knowledge about the students local estuarine system. This will consist of a four day experiential and place-based professional development with content in the field aligned with the Galveston Bay Estuary Programs 17 priorities outlined in the “The State of the Bay A Characterization of the Galveston Bay Ecosystem,” The Coastal Bends and Bays Program goals, and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration standards for Ocean Literacy. Teachers will participate and receive training in pre and post content assessment and attitudinal and behavioral change surveys to be taken by students, utilizing a preserve with four natural resource managers to test water quality and learn about flora and fauna, higher level content and experience during a Eco-Art Workshop and Adventure via kayak, and a vessel tour to the open bay system.
4 Student WaterIQWet blog site for students to share their individual experiences as they engage in the process of learning and engaging in the multiple experiences.