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Why We Should Teach Children About Stormwater Pollution
Did you know 40% of America’s rivers and 46% of America’s lakes are too polluted for fishing, swimming, or aquatic life? Stormwater pollution is one the most common causes of water pollution in the United States. Pollution has very real consequences that affect people, animals, and plants.
While it may seem like an overwhelming problem to overcome, in reality, there is a lot we can do to prevent stormwater pollution. Integrating environmental education into every facet of learning for all students is one of the most important things we can do to protect the environment for future generations. Helping young children learn about the consequences of actions related to pollution creates a legacy of pollution prevention.
We can all help our West Valley’s youngest residents understand the importance of protecting the watershed and how to prevent stormwater pollution from impacting their favorite creek, lake, or beach!
What Students Can Do
- Walk, bike or carpool to school.
- Reduce trash by using reusable bags, containers, straws, and utensils.
- Dispose of litter and recycle properly.
- Pack a waste-free lunch.
- Use water-based paints and always clean up inside the classroom.
- Volunteer for a creek clean-up event.
- Do an experiment about stormwater pollution for the science fair.
- Participate in a nature-themed event or class at the Youth Science Institute
- Take the Watershed Pledge
What Parents Can Do
- Pick up discarded items and dispose of or recycle them properly.
- Walk or ride a bicycle instead of taking a car.
- Buy eco-friendly and energy-efficient products whenever possible.
- Reduce, reuse and recycle as often as you can.
- Dispose of household hazardous waste and e-waste properly.
- Start a compost bin with kids.
- Grow a garden with organic fruits and vegetables.
- Plant trees.
- Even very young children will understand why it’s important to pick up pet waste, conserve water, and never dump into storm drains.
What Teachers Can Do
- Have your students participate in the free online Earth Smart Actions™ interactive educational program where students K-12 learn about preventing stormwater pollution and contribute real data to real solutions in our community.
- Contact Us for a free “Enviroscape” classroom presentation.
- Contact Us for free native plant seeds and brochures about beneficial bugs for your school garden. Contact Us for colorful IPM fact sheets with tips on less-toxic pest control as a way to help students learn about insects, food chains, and ecology. Schedule a free award-winning children’s performing arts group ZunZun, to perform “The Musical Watershed ” for grades K-6.
- Take your classroom for a field trip to the Youth Science Institute to learn more about life in a pond or explore aquatic habitats.
- Bring your class to one of the nation's largest urban national wildlife refuges Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge for your next field trip. It's fun, it's interesting, and your students will remember what they learn at the refuge for years to come. Did we mention that it's free?
- Direct students to our website for more information about stormwater pollution and ideas for a science fair experiment.
Our Enviroscape is a 3-dimensional model of a watershed, with:
- A Bay
- Targets 2nd through the 5th-grade science curriculum.
- An interactive tool that provides education about preventing pollution and how our local watersheds work.
- Includes Educational Handouts, and a book reading (“All the Way to the Ocean”)
- Minimum of 45 minutes of class time