AMES, Iowa — Water Rocks! is getting things done — AmeriCorps style. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach’s Water Rocks! youth water education campaign has been hosting two AmeriCorps service members during the 2017-2018 academic year through the Iowa AmeriCorps 4-H Outreach Program.
AmeriCorps service members serve one-year terms to help meet diverse community needs and build capacity in community-serving organizations and programs. All AmeriCorps service members are united by their mission statement to “get things done for America.” Water Rocks! STEM Music and Outreach service members are doing just that as they travel around Iowa delivering Water Rocks! assemblies, classroom visits and educational youth outreach at community events on multiple conservation topics.
AmeriCorps member Megan Koppenhafer graduated from Iowa State University with degrees in environmental science and community and regional planning. Her passion for both music and sustainability brought her back to Water Rocks! post-graduation, where she previously worked as an intern during her undergraduate years.
“Service is important in a local context because it reminds us that we are part of a community, and it allows us to fill gaps in our community's services. I believe that my service with Water Rocks! builds the program’s ability to reach more students across the state, and by doing that, we support the conservation efforts statewide,” Koppenhafer said.
AmeriCorps member Jack Schilling joined Water Rocks! after graduating from high school in Jefferson. Having been a part of 4-H since fourth grade, Schilling was drawn to the service position with Water Rocks! through the Iowa AmeriCorps 4-H Outreach program. Schilling also is a longtime lover of music and entertainment, and enjoys being a part of the singing and dancing Water Rocks! school assembly team. He has found that serving with AmeriCorps after high school graduation has helped him to gain valuable work experience, and save for college while serving his community. He enjoys working with Iowa youth.
“I believe that what I teach to students is vital to the health of our state going into the future, and teaching students while they are young is very important to build good habits for years to come,” Schilling said.
AmeriCorps service members with Water Rocks! are core members of the Water Rocks! school assembly team, and also conduct youth outreach visits to K-12 classrooms across the state of Iowa. In summer 2018, Water Rocks! AmeriCorps service members are coordinating several Water Rocks! STEM-focused summer day camps for fourth through seventh grade students across the state.
For more information about the Water Rocks! STEM Music and Outreach AmeriCorps service program, visit waterrocks.org.
Water Rocks! is Iowa’s unique, award-winning statewide youth water education program. Through a combination of STEM and the arts, especially music, Water Rocks! educates, challenges, and inspires young people towards a greater appreciation of our state’s water, soil, and other natural resources. Partners of Water Rocks! include: Iowa Department of Natural Resources (United States Environmental Protection Agency, Section 319 of the Clean Water Act), Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, and personal gifts of support. Learn more at www.waterrocks.org.
Photo caption: AmeriCorps service member Jack Schilling teaches Tripoli Elementary School students all about natural resources in a Water Rocks! assembly.