Oklahoma teachers bringing free river education program back to the classroom

Posted at 7:36 PM, Jul 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-28 20:36:07-04

Oklahoma teachers are getting hands-on training to teach students about water quality and watershed management.

A group of teachers are paddling through the fun on the Illinois River for a chance to learn about Oklahoma’s ecosystems.

“To have this resource and this opportunity and these people who care enough to bring teachers out here. It’s a big deal especially that it’s free and we’re getting so much from it,” said Julie Valsaint, an Owasso 6th Grade Science Teacher,”

Valsaint is one of a dozen teachers who took a three day course on water education.

“It’s amazing because I know that I’m going to be able to bring this back into my classroom and potentially bring students out here. So, it’s a great opportunity for us as teachers to be able to come out and do something like this,” said Valsaint.

The teachers became students—learning about the water cycle, how watersheds are impacted by pollution and everything living underwater.

“The more vegetation we leave along the bank the better off we are. When we mow it like this right up to the edge and remove all the trees we don’t have any structure to hold that bank in place,” said Jeri Fleming, the Water Education for Teachers program instructor.

Fleming spent the last three days teaching a lesson plan and curriculum for the teachers.

“It is a challenge for them to fit it into their curriculum, but it’s still information that they need to know,” said Fleming.

Teachers short on resources are grateful to take the course back to their students.

“These are jobs that we’re going to be needing in the future and these students aren’t exposed to this kind of material, this kind of opportunity very often. I mean I have kids even from a rural setting that don’t come to the creek,” said Cappi Coleman, a teacher at West Watkins Tech Center.

The training class for teachers is offered every summer. It’s a partnership between OSU Extension, the Oklahoma Conservation Commission and the Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA).



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