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NOAA Summer Watershed Institute

  • Headwaters to Estuaries

    Headwaters to Estuaries: Enhancing Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences with Immersive Technology

    Saint Francis University has partnered with teachers and students in Bedford Area, Chestnut Ridge, Harmony Area, and Hollidaysburg Area School Districts to provide meaningful watershed educational  experiences (MWEEs) using stormwater best management practices (BMPs) as an organizing principle to engage elementary and middle-school students. 

    Stormwater Runoff and the Chesapeake Bay

    Stormwater runoff caries pollutants from the headwaters (where SFU and our partnering school districts are located) to the estuaries of the Chesapeake Bay. It also causes flooding and erosive loss of land and structures. Fortunately, scientists and engineers have developed highly effective ways of mitigating stormwater runoff known collectively as stormwater best management practices. In this project we use the stormwater BMP as an organizing principle to engage middle school students in a very visual and critically important environmental issue. Because stormwater is in everyone’s backyard, students will have ready access to hands-on field work near their school and because many stormwater BMPs are low-tech, students will be able to translate their study directly into action projects that help improve the local environment. Using technology, such as 360 degree cameras, the program will explore ways that watershed education can be immersive.

    Primary Goals and Objectives:

    Systemic MWEE Implementation is prioritized with the goals of

    1. conducting a Summer Institute for teacher professional development
    2. developing planetarium-aided integrative and interdisciplinary watershed curriculum units (MWEEs)
    3. providing academic year support for field work and MWEE delivery
    4. organizing culminating activities including:
      1. Student-led BMP design and implementation
      2. a regional Watershed Festival

    Overall the project is anticipated to reach 1,100 students in grades 3-10 and 24 teachers.

    For more information please email to or call: 814-472-3878.

    Teachers at Chestnut Ridge and Bedford School Districts interested in participating in the 2019 Summer Watershed Institute can sign up here: