Prompted by the reauthorization of the Chesapeake Bay Act of 2000, the Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) initiative has grown into a statewide environmental education movement. Its implementation has resulted in exciting new partnerships within school systems and the community at large. Through the efforts of individual educators and the support of numerous non-profit organizations and governmental agencies, several thousand Virginia students are discovering the intricacies of their own watershed and are actively engaged in social and scientific field research.
What is a MWEE?
As defined by the Chesapeake Bay Program, a “MWEE is an investigative or experimental project that engages students in thinking critically about the Bay watershed. MWEEs are not intended to be quick, one-day activities; rather, they are extensive projects that allow students to gain a deep understanding of the issue or topic being presented. Students participate in background research, hands-on activities and reflection periods that are appropriate for their ages and grade levels.”
A meaningful watershed educational experience should be defined by the following:
- are investigative or project oriented.
- are richly structured and based on high-quality instructional design.
- are an integral part of the instructional program.
- are part of a sustained activity.
- consider the watershed as a system.
- involve external sharing and communication.
- are enhanced by natural resources personnel.
- are for all students.