Water Matters Presents

South Zumbro River Watershed Academy

by Gael Entrikin | Jul 19, 2011
| 1 Comment

Summary:

• We believe that the commitment to action by a coordinated volunteer group is unique in our region. As the partnerships have matured the potential for action continues to grow. The commitment to recruiting and sustaining community awareness and community action about water is innovative for a region that traditionally has taken water for granted. While people are often uncomfortable learning that our apparent abundance of water quantity may not be sustainable due to the threats to water quality our initial steps to communicate and educate have been well received and some of the early participants have already taken steps to further educate and to motivate other community members.

• Use of new DNR Water assessment Tool
• Highly -Interactive classes
• Train-the trainer approach to broaden our scope
• Use of technology to create an ongoing (possibly interactive) resource

About You

read more ↓↑ hide↑ hide

About You

First Name

Gael

Last Name

Entrikin

Country

United States, MN

City

Rochester

About Your Organization

Organization Name

Organization Website

Your Idea

read more↑ hide↑ hide

Name your idea

Water Matters Presents: South Zumbro River Watershed Academy

Describe how you would use $15,000 to help your community become aware of and address water issues in Minnesota.

This entry provides people tools and information to increase awareness, to make positive behavioral changes, learn about water resources, connect with others, and ultimately to take action to protect water for future generations.
We would like to expand educational efforts by using the DNR’s new Watershed Assessment Tools (WATs)for evaluating watershed health. The WAT uses 5 perspectives (Hydrology, Geomorphology, Biology Connectivity and Water Quality) to provide a comprehensive and comprehensible picture of watershed health. The tool has been principally used by water professionals, not educators, decision makers or average citizens. We would like to adapt the WAT for educating the public and motivating people to make decisions and take actions that will restore, enhance and protect our watershed.

The S. Zumbro River Watershed Academy increases educational efforts already begun by Water Matters. The funds would be used to plan and promote a series of WATs community training exercises, develop an educational website, and develop curricula for use in other communities.

Budget Items - With your support we can
• Finance speakers, consultants, to educate volunteers (content presentations will be open to the community as well) on the new DNR WAT.
• move outside the city (need outreach/publicity and transportation expense for volunteers)
• Provide outlines, references, etc, as requested in evaluations
• Hire professional help to:
o Establish a website,
o Create a curriculum into an inexpensive, flexible format for other groups;
o Promote the Watershed Academy
• Foster an educational style that involves participants with the material, after “tuning up” in response to the evaluations from our trial run, and the new WAT, we would like to put the curriculum in a proper format for others to build on.

How do you define your "community"?. How are water issues affecting your community?

The South Zumbro watershed covers 233,000 acres and the population includes Minnesota’s third largest city, numerous small towns, farms, industry, and rural homes. What we share is a watershed. We are residents with a wide range of knowledge and interest levels related to watershed health. Some are unaware of water issues, others complain about them without recognizing why they need to be involved in “the fix” without finger pointing.

We hope to help folks recognize the cumulative effects of all of our individual behaviors. Particularly in these days when budgets are being cut for pollution regulation, we need to be actively involved to assure water sustainability. In an area where nitrates are found in our groundwater aquifers, surface waters are murky with suspended sediments and bacteria, and the list of impaired waters continues to grow, we need more awareness to generate community action to resolve the issues.

Innovation

read more↑ hide↑ hide

Describe how your idea is creative.

• We believe that the commitment to action by a coordinated volunteer group is unique in our region. As the partnerships have matured the potential for action continues to grow. The commitment to recruiting and sustaining community awareness and community action about water is innovative for a region that traditionally has taken water for granted. While people are often uncomfortable learning that our apparent abundance of water quantity may not be sustainable due to the threats to water quality our initial steps to communicate and educate have been well received and some of the early participants have already taken steps to further educate and to motivate other community members.
• Use of new DNR Water assessment Tool
• Highly -Interactive classes
• Train-the trainer approach to broaden our scope
• Use of technology to create an ongoing (possibly interactive) resource

Impact

read more↑ hide↑ hide

Describe how how you expect your idea to make a difference in your community.

As one of our advisors says, “It is difficult to get people to recognize that their everyday actions contribute to degraded water quality,” we want to bring change to that problem. We think we have some helpful “tricks.” We believe that our idea will help people understand how connected we are to water, how important it is to be aware of our impacts on water, and that by motivating citizens to change behaviors our idea will stick with our community. We want to spread the program beyond the “once in Rochester” through the south watershed. We would like to share the idea beyond the watershed when we have the experience to document our success. We are prepared to offer classes over time to congregations, neighborhoods, and other groups

Sustainability and Growth

read more↑ hide↑ hide

Describe how your idea will "stick" in your community and how you think it could be repeated in other communities.

We want it to stick. We will:
• Continue to work with a spectrum of water/environmental organizations and professionals to give the project credibility, efficiency, teach and help sustain it over the long term.
• Incorporate an interactive, hands-on approach, which helps people retain what they learn. Build expanding circles of people with expertise and passion to teach others
• Spread the program beyond “once in Rochester” through the south watershed. Then, once we have the experience to document our success,
share the idea beyond our own watershed.
• Compile all of our program information and resources on a website, easily accessible to any concerned citizen at any time.
• Offer classes over time and are look for ways to meet where people do: in congregations, neighborhoods, and other groups.
In the “101” evaluations, several students spoke of their own need to change, made suggestions for either referring others to “101”, or involving us at another time and location. We want to “grow” that. Social change takes time, we have some momentum built – we need to keep building.

Mikey Bang said: I will be looking forward for this program and have nothing in me but wish that this will be implemented or may takes place ... about this Competition Entry. - 1874 days ago read more >

Gael Entrikin submitted this idea. - 2807 days ago