Watershed Wisdom, a lesson plan on maintaining healthy water quality and watersheds, earned the Grand Award from the 2021 APEX Awards for Excellence in the Campaigns, Programs & Plans category.
The APEX Awards for Publication Excellence is an annual competition for corporate and nonprofit publishers, editors, writers and designers who create print, web, electronic and social media.
Judges said the entry was “one of the best” educational programs to emerge during the coronavirus pandemic following a shift to online educational settings, according to the release.
Schools use Watershed Wisdom to help students learn about the water cycle, consider how to keep our water clean and safe, and take interest in their local waterways.
The lessons are a collaborative effort among North Carolina Watershed Stewardship Network, with key support from the North Carolina Water Resources Research Institute, or WRRI, North Carolina Sea Grant, Project WET, PBS North Carolina, City of Raleigh Stormwater, Town of Hillsborough Stormwater and Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership.
Christy Perrin, sustainable waters and communities coordinator for the state’s Sea Grant and WRRI programs, said the partnership with PBS North Carolina was critical to the success for leading the development of Watershed Wisdom.
The team worked together on a Learning from Home guide that provided accessibility for students who were learning remotely in 2020.
Along with Perrin, Paula Edelson of PBS North Carolina and Lauren Daniel of the NC Division of Water Resources Educational Programs have helped lead. The team had several goals in developing a product capable of teaching students while also “getting students outdoors, empowering them” to learn more about watersheds, Perrin said.
More than 9,000 K-12 educators and students have accessed the educational activities, which include options for in-person sessions indoors and outdoors, as well as remote learning.
Watershed Wisdom is divided into different sessions and activities, including entirely online components like “Ways of Watersheds.” The APEX judges cited that element as “the highlight” of Watershed Wisdom, “a colorful, engaging lesson explaining how crucial watersheds are to healthy water.”
The complete Watershed Wisdom lesson is free through PBS Learning Media and will be featured in the next issue of Coastwatch magazine from North Carolina Sea Grant.