An April 17 U-T San Diego editorial, “Time to teach our kids where water comes from,” encourages our leaders to launch a California Water Awareness Day to prepare future generations to take on water supply challenges.
We believe our education system should integrate water awareness every day.
When we teach children the importance of washing their hands before eating, we do not do this one day, we do it EVERY DAY. As result, children make this part of their daily routine and the message—and its health benefit—lasts a lifetime. When we talk to kids about the environment—specifically the importance of water and where our water comes from—we also need to do it every day to ensure we develop mindful adults that carry this important message with them throughout a lifetime.
Water is an interdisciplinary topic that can be used as a teaching tool for reading, writing, science, history, art and math. Teachers and students should take advantage of the great water curricula available (California Education and the Environment Initiative curriculum, FOSS, Project WET, Waves, Wetlands, and Watersheds, and Project SWELL, just to name a few).
Launched in 2003, Project SWELL (Stewardship: Water Education for Lifelong Leadership) curricula are now available for San Diego Unified School District K-6 and Oceanside Unified School District 5th and 6th grade classrooms. It includes thirty-six, standard-aligned lessons with a focus on San Diego’s regional waters. Hands-on lessons help students learn about our local aquatic animals and their habitats; our local watersheds, lakes and rivers; our water supply; and opportunities for water conservation and pollution prevention. Project SWELL is provided FREE through a partnership among San Diego Unified School District, Think Blue and San Diego Coastkeeper.
If we want future generations to be ready to take care of our resources and to thrive in the next generation of clean tech jobs, we need to prepare them now with the necessary skills. Water awareness is the first step to engage future leaders in sustainable water management.
Let’s not stop at Water Awareness Day, but Water Awareness Every Day.