What About Water?
Inside the Outdoors’ What About Water? program builds tomorrow's environmental leaders through Traveling Scientist and Service-Learning lessons that empower, engage, and educate students, teachers, and the community on water issues, awareness and conservation practices.
Hands-on lessons allow students to interact with a science concept, rather than just read about it or hear about it in a lecture, bringing the concept to life. Students may read about water recycling, but not really understand the process until they perform an experiment to separate coffee grounds from waste water. They may hear about water conservation from their teacher, but not grasp how important that is until they see the impact of the drought on a local freshwater pond. Research shows that hands-on lessons allow students of all learning styles to engage actively and retain what they have learned.
Two Traveling Scientist visits turn classrooms into hands-on science laboratories where students examine the water cycle, learn how pollution enters the watershed, conduct campus and home water audits, and develop ways to conserve water. Service-Learning gives students a voice and turns lessons into real-life action when they develop and implement a campus/environmental stewardship project to engage peers and the public in meaningful conservation efforts.
Service-Learning focuses on results-oriented activities that reinforce water education lessons by connecting classroom concepts to real-life projects. Change is more likely to be sustained when students learn AND take action. Research shows that Service-Learning has a lasting impact on communities as students become leaders with a voice in finding the solutions to societal issues.
Water Expos help students become educators as the entire campus is engaged in environmental stewardship activities such as water surveys, poster presentations, and lunch time interactive water education exhibits and games while encouraging water conservation pledges from their peers. Inside the Outdoors helps to host these 1-day water education fairs where student created education materials such as posters, PSA’s and newsletters enhance the education campus-wide.
The goal of What About Water programs and Water Expos are to sustain long-term water awareness, water conservation practices and behavior changes at schools and in the community.
While the need for science continues to rise, school budgets continue to be slashed, forcing schools to cut field trips, science labs, and other resources vital to reversing those negative trends. Community support is needed to restore resources to the classroom and improve academic outcomes as more than 60% of the students served by ITO come from impoverished communities, where students require sponsorships to attend. Funding from the Municipal Water District of Orange County and COX Charities make programs like What About Water? available to low-income students and underserved communities while promoting environmental conservation and stewardship.
“Service-Learning projects have helped me recognize and better understand my own strengths and weaknesses. Throughout the process, I’ve also learned that, no matter my age, I do have the ability to make a significant and worthwhile change in my community.” - Allison C., student from Mission Viejo HS
Quotes from What About Water? Participants
“I didn’t know how much I didn’t know about water.” -Student, Mission Viejo HS
“We had even more traffic at our Water Expo this year. The students created games to engage their peers and encouraged everyone to make a water pledge.” -Gwen Harris, Health Science Teacher – El Toro HS
“We are so thankful for the amazing partnership we’ve forged with Inside the Outdoors. The Water Expo provided a wonderful creative outlet for students to take what they’ve learned and share it with others.” -Andrea Ramos, AP Environmental Science Teacher – Brea Olinda HS
Fun Facts - Student Research
- It takes 3 gallons of water to flush a toilet
- Showers use 2.5 gallons per minute
- An average of 167 water bottles are consumed per person each year in the U.S.
- The U.S. uses 400 billion gallons of water each day
- It takes 900 gallons of water to produce an 8 oz. steak and only 20 gallons to produce a half pound of vegetables
- .024% of the world’s water is available to us as liquid freshwater
- 5.7 billion gallons of water is used to flush toilets annually in the U.S.
- The average household drinks 1600 – 2000 gallons of water each year
- Tap water costs $.004 per gallon, Bottled water costs $1.22 per gallon
- Households can save an average of $1825 - $2312 per year by drinking filter water at home instead of buying bottled water
Ways to Conserve Water
Water Bottle Usage in the US
Water Conservation Pledge