There’s No New Water!
There’s No New Water! begins with an exploration of the natural water cycle; explores human interventions that affect water quality and quantity; examines the effects of the urban/rural interface on water quality and quantity; includes the identification and implementation of service-learning projects that address local water conservation issues; and culminates with a set of activities for younger youth and families designed to be led by teens as teachers.
Module 1: The Natural Water Cycle
Water is unique in that it exists naturally as a solid, liquid, and gas. When we think of places on Earth where we find water, we often think of bodies of water that are familiar to us, such as lakes, oceans, or streams. Water helps sustain human life as a nutritional necessity and it also supports residential, agricultural, recreational, and industrial activities. However, finite amounts of water move through watersheds and it must be used wisely so it can support the natural environment and human activities.
Module 2: Human Interventions in the Water Cycle
Humans need water. Water is essential from a nutritional standpoint to help sustain life, it’s required for agriculture to grow crops, and it’s also used for a variety of residential, recreational, and industrial purposes. However, the human population is growing rapidly, and this places ever-increasing pressure on the finite amounts of water that are available. Furthermore, pollutants that affect water quality effectively decrease the supply because there is less available useable water.
Module 3: Water as an Available Resource - The Urban/Rural Interface
The urban/rural interface refers to those geographical regions where densely population urban areas and less populated rural areas come into contact. As urban populations grow, cities expand their boundaries and encroach up rural areas, impacting them in a variety of ways. Even though the livelihoods and life styles of inhabitants of rural and urban areas may be different, both are located in the same watershed, connected by their need for clean and ample supplies of water.
Module 4: Mapping Natural Watersheds
Mapping watersheds is important for a variety of reasons. By mapping watersheds, scientists, city and regional planners, conservationists, farmers, and ranchers, and others can understand the physical characteristics of a region and identify actual or predict potential sources of impacts on water quality and quantity due to human or natural interventions. By identifying where natural (e.g., earthquake) or human (e.g., dam, wastewater treatment plant, landfill, agricultural land) interventions occur or might occur, we can better identify actual or predict potential sources of impacts on water resources and develop solutions to improve water resources.
Module 5: Service Learning Projects in Your Watershed
We as a society, and as small groups and individuals, can have a tremendous impact on enhancing the conservation of water resources. With a grasp of the concepts from Modules 1 through 4, youth can apply their knowledge to create a service learning project that addresses a water-related issue in their community.
Module 6: Teens Teaching Younger Youth
After completing Modules 1-5, teens can apply this knowledge through cross-age teaching and to build peer support through planning and implementing hands-on, inquiry-based activities with younger youth.
Service Learning Projects
“Service-learning combines service objectives with learning objectives with the intent that the activity change both the recipient and the provider of the service. This is accomplished by combining service tasks with structured opportunities that link the task to self-reflection, self-discovery, and the acquisition and comprehension of values, skills, and knowledge content.” – National Service-Learning Clearinghouse
Service learning projects are a powerful tool of applying learning while also becoming actively involved in one’s community. Service learning is a form of experiential learning in which youth combine critical thinking skills and subject matter knowledge to address authentic community needs. Service learning is a type of active learning where youth understand and analyze concepts through direct application.
When implemented effectively, service learning projects can accomplish a wide set of educational objectives that further youth development. A major goal of service learning projects is for youth to develop social, political, and analytical skills necessary to participate in their communities. Youth should be able to examine issues in their communities and understand the value of assisting with these concerns. Because participants can see the direct impact they have on their community, service learning projects foster a sense of community belonging.
Five Elements of High Quality Service Learning
- Integrated Learning – enhances knowledge, values or skills of the participant.
- High Service – meets a real need in the community (as defined by the community, is age appropriate, well-organized and gets things done.
- Student Voice – students should be engaged in as many aspects of project planning as possible.
- Reflection – reflections should take place before (to prepare), during (to troubleshoot), and after (to process) service activities.
- Collaboration – Involves others in the community. All stakeholders are involved in planning, execution and evaluation of the program.
by Allan T. Smith, Ph.D., National 4‑H Program Leader, 1997.
Increase youth understanding of the linkage between urbanization and its impacts on the health of local streams, creeks, and the ocean.
Youth-adult partnerships encompass any collaboration between youth and adults, and they are an integral aspect of 4‑H service learning projects. Youth-adult partnerships are one of the most effective ways to engage youth in meaningful activities contributing to positive youth development. Youth-adult partnerships combine youth’s knowledge with adults’ experience and wisdom while valuing both parties’ contributions. Adults receive the benefit of a fresh perspective, while youth have opportunities to envision, develop, and implement programs equally with adult facilitators.
by the Texas Network of Youth Services.
Executive Summary. By Shepherd Zeldin, Julie Petrokubi, and Carole MacNeil.
by Shepherd Zeldin, Julie Petrokubi, and Carole MacNeil.