EAST ALTON – Swarovski Waterschool Educator Elizabeth Flotte is inviting educators to be among the first participants in the official launch of the Swarovski Waterschool USA Mississippi River program, which joins the team of global programs along the major rivers of the world.
The Swarovski Waterschool USA program is looking for fifth- and sixth-grade teachers who want to educate their students about water and river systems and engage them in a community action project. Participants will attend one of three free two-day teacher workshops on July 18-19, July 25-26 or Aug. 2-3.
“The unique cultural perspective of this program is fundamental to transforming students’ perception of their relationship with the Mississippi River,” Flotte said. “Students will discover that there is nothing more relevant to our lives than learning about the water source that sustains us and how we impact that water source. We will equip our students with this knowledge so that they may be inspired to pass it on to their communities.”
Preference will be given to teachers working in districts immediately adjacent to the Mississippi and Illinois rivers in both Illinois and Missouri.
After attending one of the two-day workshops, teachers will receive a free educator toolkit, learning materials aligned to Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards, and professional development hours. Another notable benefit of attending the workshop is access to funding for community stewardship projects and bus transportation and substitute teacher costs for field trips related to the program.
The opportunity gives educators the chance to connect their classes with students from other global Swarovski Waterschool programs in Austria, Brazil, China, India, Thailand or Uganda.
Lewis and Clark Community College Director of Trio Pre-College Programs Crystal Robinson has 14 Alton High School sophomores who are currently participating in Swarovski Waterschool lessons.
“Many students take for granted that the Mississippi River is a vital resource to not only this community but the entire region,” Robinson said. “The Upward Bound students are receiving hands-on instruction that will shape their views of water and their habitat. The lessons are particularly important because they will hone skills the students are learning in the Upward Bound biology/science classes.”
The Swarovski Waterschool lessons range from local and global water awareness to what affects the water quality in nearby streams. Students are learning about their connections to the environment and how their actions impact our aquatic resources.
Eventually, the participating Upward Bound students will conduct a stream monitoring survey and visit the Melvin Price Lock and Dam for a better understanding of how the Mississippi River is studied and managed.
“It is important for more young people to learn about the global water crisis as well as how they think about and use water,” Robinson said. “The benefit is awareness, hands-on experience and exposure. It is always important to highlight local issues to young minds particularly when there is a profound global connection. The most significant benefit is that students will have an increased understanding of the human connection to and reliance on a healthy, functioning river ecosystem.”
For more information, including how to register for the upcoming educator workshops, contact Flotte at (618) 468-2781 or [email protected] The deadline to register is July 2. Interested educators can register at https://tinyurl.com/SWS-USA-MR2017Teachers.
The newly-established Swarovski Waterschool USA is headquartered at Lewis and Clark Community College’s National Great Rivers Research and Education Center.
To learn more about The Swarovski Waterschool, visit http://bit.ly/SwarovskiWaterschool17. To learn more about NGRREC visit www.ngrrec.org, and to learn more about Upward Bound visit www.lc.edu/Upward_Bound.
PHOTO: Swarovski Waterschool Educator Elizabeth Flotte, center, discusses ways to conserve water with Upward Bound students.