Before embarking on a new MWEE project, educators will want to review the array of potential partners ready to assist them. Several may be located in the immediate community while others serve a specific region of the state. This is a partial list of potential MWEE partners, but a great place to start.
Soil and Water Conservation Districts
Expert assistance related to the local watershed is available through Virginia’s 47 Soil and Water Conservation Districts. Among their popular programs is the Envirothon competition for high school students. Local districts are a primary source of information on soils, hydrology and water quality issues. District staff and volunteers may be available to coordinate or assist with grade level field days. To locate the Soil and Water District serving your community, visit the website above.
Virginia Cooperative Extension – 4-H Youth Program
Across the state of Virginia, local 4-H agents and volunteers offer a variety of in-school programs related to natural resources including wildlife, forestry, plant and soil science and in many cases water quality. 4-H personnel will often serve as instructors at field days. To locate your county or city Virginia Cooperative Extension office, visit the website above.
Virginia Department of Forestry – County Staff
County level foresters and forestry technicians may be available to assist at field days depending upon seasonal responsibilities. In addition to tree species identification, foresters are knowledgeable of other aspects of forest ecology including succession, biodiversity, invasive species and how riparian buffers function. To locate your county DOF office, visit the website above.
Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
DGIF offers boating safety and fishing education, wildlife mapping, VA WILD School Sites workshops, and all the Project WILD workshops including Aquatic WILD. Their Field Investigation Guide uses the outdoor environment to foster student learning of scientific processes. For more information on how DGIF can support your MWEE contact Suzie Gilley at Suzie.Gilley@dgif.virginia.gov
Virginia Master Naturalists
A statewide corps of volunteers that provides education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities. Many VMNs are trained in MWEE and available to support field investigations.
Virginia State Parks
Within a one hour’s drive of every Virginia community is a Virginia State Park. Most of them have a pond, stream, river or oceanfront that is incorporated into their interpretative programming. All state parks have available Your Backyard Classroom curriculum, a K-12 field based inter-disciplinary curriculum designed by and for the Virginia State Parks and Natural Area Preserves. YBC is available for download at Backyard Classrooms
Bay, River Associations and Friends Groups
Chesapeake Bay Foundation
CBF on-the-water programs and/or service projects may serve as the basis of local field investigations. The Education link of the CBF homepage provides more information. Teachers participating in CBF field trips receive an extensive packet of lessons plans which can be used for the preparation and reflection phases of a MWEE as well.
Chesapeake Experience offers on-the-water, hands-on educational experiences for students, teachers and the general public to increase stewardship of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Programs include summer day camps for all age groups, teacher training and weekend trips.
Dan River Basin Association
The Association provides a variety of programs and services to Dan River Basin residents including guided outings, river and trail updates and maintains a blog. Several watershed pertinent publications can be downloaded from their homepage. DRBA also co-sponsors Trout in the Classroom projects with local schools.
Friends of the Potomac
Friends of the Potomac helps communities, businesses, governments, and individuals protect and restore natural resources while fostering sustainable economic development.
Friends of the Rappahannock
FOR offers educators and the community at large a variety of environmental education, service learning and outdoor adventure programs. Their educational programs enable students to gain an understanding and appreciation of the Rappahannock River ecosystem. Among the new MWEE special offerings are snorkeling programs for upper elementary through high school students and canoeing/kayaking trip combined with water quality explorations. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Friends of the Rivers of Virginia
Dedicated to the conservation, preservation an enhancement of Virginia's river resources. FORVA's activities include identifying, assessing and resolving river related problems and opportunities through research, education, communication and activism.
Friends of the Shenandoah
Citizen monitors collect and post water quality data and maps. Volunteers also conduct educational presentations for schools and civic organizations on the Shenandoah watershed and how and where concerned people can make a difference.
James River Association
JRA conducts education and outreach programs including school presentations, day camps and outdoor adventures.
Mattaponi and Pamunkey Rivers Association
The homepage includes Association newsletters, upcoming events, river fact sheets and maps, information on stewardship projects and “Schools of Shad” (raising shad fry in the classroom project with King and Queen and King William public schools)
As part of its work, Potomac Conservancy's seeks to educate, inspire, and engage Potomac watershed residents of all ages about the wonders of living near Potomac River and its tributaries.
Rivanna Conservation Society
RCS sponsors events and hosts activities throughout the watershed, including river paddles, riverbank and instream clean-ups, public education forums, teacher and student education, training and water quality monitoring events, riparian buffer plantings and watershed restoration projects.
Upper Tennessee River Round Table
The Upper Tennessee River Roundtable is a non-profit organization with an overall interest in improving water quality in the Upper Tennessee River Watershed. Don't let the name confuse you: the Upper Tennessee River Roundtable is based in Southwest Virginia and covers from the very tip of Virginia, Lee County, toward Wythe County. The Roundtable represents a total of nine counties and two cities. The major rivers include the Clinch, Holston, and Powell.
York River and Small Coastal Basins Roundtable
Supported by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and other organizations, the roundtable maintains York River and small coastal basins impaired waters lists and maps and conducts education and outreach projects.