International Joint Commission - April 22, 2020
Kevin Bunch - Reprinted with permission
One approach to fostering environmental stewardship is to get people involved in water activities as children. An educational initiative by Genesee Riverwatch in upstate New York has been doing exactly that by helping teachers get students excited about their local Genesee River.
Chris Widmaier, a Rochester-based science teacher and member of Riverwatch’s Aquatic Education Initiative steering committee, said the organization received a $20,000 grant from the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute in 2017. Riverwatch members discussed how they could build an educational program to connect K-12 students with the river system, how rivers are impacted by human activities and the different types of human communities along their courses. In turn, Riverwatch leaders hoped, this would get children and their families to take a greater role in protecting the waterway.