AMES, Iowa – High school students at two Story County schools were the first to try a new soil and water conservation education module in early 2020.
It's part of Water Rocks, an award-winning, statewide water education program based at Iowa State University.
The classroom education program was piloted with Agriculture Education and FFA students at Nevada High School and Gilbert High School. The development of the high school curriculum and material was made possible through funding from the Story County Soil and Water Conservation District.
Water Rocks! is widely known for its innovative conservation education programming delivered to elementary and middle schools across Iowa through a mixture of classroom visits, school assemblies and outdoor classrooms.
This new high school classroom program builds on that foundation, using hands-on games and activities to help FFA students dig more deeply into the cause and effect of urban and agricultural practices on water quality and soil conservation.
“The students we worked with in the high schools quickly grasped the concepts and were eager to delve into more complex topics such as cumulative effects and the dynamics of how nutrients and pollutants move through land and water,” said Ann Staudt, Water Rocks! director. “We were delighted to see the students making connections to local water bodies and engaging in discussion about opportunities for implementing conservation practices, both in-field and edge-of-field, on the local level.”
Water Rocks! delivers highly interactive programming that gets students involved in hands-on learning activities that cover a broad range of research- and science-based information through thought-provoking games, group exercises and discussion.
“My ag students came away from the program with a better understanding of how nutrients leaving the field affect our waterways and both a stronger grasp on soil conservation and best practices to keep fertile soil in place,” said Kevin Cooper, Nevada High School Ag Education teacher. “I would recommend the Water Rocks! program to other teachers. The content was relevant and the level of activity and the enthusiasm of the Water Rocks! team really connected with the students and held their interest throughout.”
To learn more about Water Rocks!, or to request a classroom visit, visit www.waterrocks.org.