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Educate. Empower. Act. The mission of Project WET is to reach children, parents, educators and communities of the world with water education. We invite you to join us in educating children about the most precious resource on the planet — water.
Until she discovered that Bridger was missing, Project Manager Molly Ward--who has worked for the last year on our interactive web experience for kids, DiscoverWater.org--was having a normal day. Bridger, the water-loving dog that appears prominently on the DiscoverWater.org site, was still very much in evidence there, but his supersized cardboard likeness had disappeared. Big Bridger had been created for Project WET's booth at the North American Association for Environmental Education conference, and when Molly, Laurina and Theresa returned from the conference, he remained in his protective cardboard cover, ready for his next outing. Unfortunately, his next outing was not the one that Molly and the rest of the DiscoverWater.org team had in mind.
Yesterday morning, Molly went to look for Bridger to take some measurements and discovered that he was not where she had left him. Mentioning his absence to a few colleagues, she was able to extrapolate that Covered-Bridger had been mistaken for just another bit of cardboard to be recycled! After much calling around, Molly figured out that Bridger was, most likely, at Full Circle Recycling in Belgrade, the town neighboring Bozeman.
The daunting cardboard mountain that Molly confronted.
The owner of Full Circle Recycling was able to narrow down a little where in the cardboard mountain the box was likely to be, so Molly got to Belgrade just before the place was to close for the night. Braving cardboard avalanches from all sides, Molly was thrilled when she spotted a familiar taped edge. Bridger had been found!
Safe and sound back at Project WET headquarters, Bridger seems no worse for the wear, thanks to Molly.
It is perhaps fitting that Bridger went for a recycling adventure, considering that he first appeared in Project WET materials as an illustration in the KIDs book "Discover Recycling."
Project WET's Latin America and the Caribbean Program Director Julia Nelson recently returned from Mexico, where she conducted two educator training workshops in the eastern Mexican state of Veracruz.
Partnering with the Mexican Secretary of Education, the Government of the State of Veracruz and the Joint Programme of the Millennium Development Goal Fund, Project WET trained educators in the new, Spanish-language version of the Healthy Water, Healthy Habits, Healthy People Educators Guide and accompanying children's activity booklet, both of which have been customized for use in Mexico.
In Xalapa, Julia trained 36 dynamic participants. Most were teachers and preschool through secondary level school directors, many of whom had taken part in the 2010 writing workshop that laid the groundwork for customizing the materials. The next day, Julia went to the smaller urban center of Zongolica, in the mountains south of Orizaba. There, she worked with 25 participants, mostly teachers and teacher trainers, and also had the chance to see the rainwater harvesting tank that was installed as part of the work of partners UN HABITAT and the MDG-F Join Programme.
Julia's next stop is Colombia, where newly customized materials have also recently been published.
With a facilitator network spanning Japan from Hokkaido to Kyushu, the Foundation of River & Watershed Environment Management (FOREM) was one of Project WET's first international host institutions. Now, after signing a new agreement at the Sustaining the Blue Planet conference last month, FOREM will continue to host Project WET Japan, continuing its work as "a model Project WET Host Institution (HI)," in the words of Project WET Senior VP John Etgen.
FOREM's Kazuaki Kawasaki and Project WET's Dennis Nelson sign the agreement
Since 2004, Project WET Japan has trained 225 facilitators, who have in turn reached more than 5,300 educators through nearly 400 workshops. Hundreds of thousands of students have benefited from Project WET Japan's efforts.
Since the previous agreement was signed in 2008, FOREM has made considerable strides in further developing Project WET Japan. The program was certified by three Japanese ministries under the Law for Enhancing Motivation for Environmental Conservation and the Promotion of Environmental Education in 2008, making its recognition system recognizable and credible.
In 2009, FOREM established a committee to adapt and localize Project WET materials for inclusion in the Japanese school system. "We asked teachers from elementary, secondary and high schools and universities to work as committee members to discuss which part of Science, Social Studies and Japanese language subjects are suitable and effective for each Project WET activity, and also to make up a Japanese match-up list," FOREM's Kazunari Sugawara explained, adding that these lists were used to publish a downloadable booklet of case studies on Project WET adaptations within Japanese schools.
The following year, FOREM published a supplemental guide to cover the topics of Disaster Prevention, Watersheds, Water Resources and Water Quality within its offerings.
"This supplemental guide was based on Discover Floods, Conserve Water, Healthy Water, Healthy People, Coral Reefs and other books published by the Project WET Foundation," Sugawara said. "In order to include original Japanese elements, we invited college professors, schoolteachers and citizen groups to form a working team to discuss the contents in a year-long process."
Since 2010, FOREM has also organized an annual national convention bringing together not only Project WET leaders but also leaders from other environmental education organizations.
"The Project WET Foundation is proud to continue its fruitful cooperation with Foundation of River & Watershed Environment Management to make Project WET Japan possible," Etgen concluded.
The joy of learning is evident in Project WET's new photo exhibit, now on display at Rockford Coffee in Bozeman. Taken around the world by Project WET staff, the photos demonstrate the effectiveness of engaging and fun activities in teaching about all aspects of water, from conservation to hydration, watersheds to the water cycle. The exhibit will be on display through early November.
NEW! The Project WET Foundation will be hosting a reception/open house at Rockford on Thursday, October 27, from 6pm to 8pm. Check out our Facebook event page for more information or to RSVP.
Rockford Coffee is located at 628 W. Main St., Ste. 3 in Bozeman. They're open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and weekends from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.