External Engagement News
August 28, 2017
In June, Utah Water Watch (UWW), a Utah State University Water Quality Extension program, said goodbye to co-coordinator Eli Robinson. While working for Utah Water Watch, Eli spearheaded UWW’s Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) program. This program has been successful in working with citizen monitors to assist the Utah Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Water Quality in catching HABs before they release toxins and cause potential harm to people and animals. The UWW community will miss Eli’s organizational expertise, sense of humor, and creativity, and wishes him well in the future.
With this change, Cade Andrus has joined UWW as the new co-coordinator. He is a 2017 graduate of the Quinney College of Natural Resources at USU and has a degree in environmental studies along with a strong interest in sustainable development. While in this new position, he hopes to reach a broader audience for water quality education and citizen monitoring. Cade’s diverse background will bring new insights and ideas to the program.
In order to continue supporting and growing programs, UWW has added additional staff this season, including USU students Jose Pacheco, a senior in conservation and restoration ecology, and Hannah Johnson and Cole Patton, who are both incoming freshman and Quinney scholars studying conservation and restoration ecology.
UWW co-coordinator Ellen Bailey, based in Salt Lake City, works with watershed partners to develop advanced monitoring (Tier 2) volunteers in assisting with state monitoring needs, especially in measuring the effectiveness of projects to improve water quality. In her presentation this past July at the iUTAH Symposium, she shared the following numbers on the program’s successes since 2012:
103 training events
1,025 volunteers trained
250 sites monitored overall in Utah
UWW maintains an active citizen science group supporting water stewardship in the state of Utah, including 100 active volunteers this year with 23 specializing in Tier 2 monitoring, and is a program that iUTAH is proud to partner with and support.
April 14, 2017
Each year in early May, Utah dedicates a week to public awareness and involvement in water issues, both locally and globally. This year, iUTAH is partnering with the Intermountain Section of the American Water Works Association (IMS-AWWA) in celebration of 2017 Utah Water Week (UWW) on May 7-13. Among the events and activities taking place, UWW brings water-related books, and occasionally their authors, to local libraries and schools across the state. This year, the award-winning Water Runs Through This Book is one of two UWW Library Books that have been chosen to educate people on the importance and scarcity of water. The production of Water Runs Through This Book by Nancy Bo Flood was supported by iUTAH to strengthen and promote an inclusive, diverse, water-wise community in Utah. Copies of the book are being donated to 210 libraries in Utah, and 25 libraries in southern Idaho.
Ellen Eiriksson, iUTAH Education, Outreach and Diversity Coordinator, said “iUTAH is thrilled to bring author Nancy Bo Flood back to Utah to help celebrate Utah Water Week and to be partnering with a variety of community, institutional, and education partners across the state, to share the book's view of water.” A partial list of the libraries and schools Bo Flood will visit throughout Utah include:
- Emery and Grand County, UT– May 2 - 5
- Weber County Libraries – May 9 - 10
- North Logan Library, North Logan UT– May 10, 7 p.m.
- Edith Bowen Laboratory School – May 11
- Logan Library, Logan UT– May 12, 3 p.m.
“This book captures the spirit of our connection to water, while also addressing and celebrating the different ways people worldwide interact with this resource,” said Eiriksson. “Nancy will be bringing this discussion to audiences state-wide, asking people to reflect on and celebrate their connection to water, while also examining on how we can be better stewards of it.” Bo Flood will also speak at the Water Education Awards Banquet honoring the winners of the Utah Division of Water Resources Young Artists Poster Contest, an event attended by 4th grade students from around the state, and their families, and teachers.
"I have been a professional in environmental education since 1972 and have seen many water education books,” said Barbara Middleton, Friends of the North Logan Library board member. “What I like about this book is the international focus, the images and the succinct clarity of how water runs through our lives."
iUTAH’s partner, Utah Water Watch, will present various citizen science opportunities for water quality monitoring throughout the state during Water Week. Please check out the 2017 Utah Water Week website for a complete list of activities and events.
May 2, 2016
The iUTAH commissioned book Water Runs Through This Book, by Nancy Bo Flood and illustrated by Jan Sonnenmair, has received much recognition and praise from the literary community this year. It has been shortlisted for a Green Earth Book Award, is a finalist in the young adult category for Colorado Author's League 2016 Awards, and winner of the 2015 Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award (SONWA) for young adult literature.
Nancy Bo Flood says, “Water creates watersheds - communities that connect us all.” As both a writer and and educator, she has led discussions using Water Runs Through This Book at libraries, classrooms, museums, and teacher workshops in Utah. On a recent trip to the southeastern corner of Utah, one teacher said Ms. Flood’s “energy and passion…. engaged our students in [activities ranging] from an animated read-aloud with a large group of rapt four-year old preschoolers to a writing workshop for all of our sixth graders.” Copies of the book were handed out at each event.
Bo Flood will be in Salt Lake City the week of May 7 – 13, and will be attending various community events including a teacher workshop held at The Leonardo on May 7.
April 19, 2016
iUTAH and The Leonardo museum in Salt Lake City are partnering to offer an educator workshop on Saturday, May 7th , 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. Author Nancy Bo Flood will present information about the beauty, mystery, and power of water with the goal of increasing a love affair between participants and water. Basic concepts about water cycles, conservation, watershed, etc., will be discussed. The heart of this workshop will be a variety of hands-on-activities for educators to bring to their classrooms (STEM + Write).
Activities and information are based on Water Runs Through This Book, and include experiencing “walking for water,” assessing daily water use; developing a home water conservation plan; creating a four-part (poetry, narration, interviews, art) statement about “seven ways of thinking about water,” and finally, assessing individual water footprints. Handouts include additional activities plus an annotated bibliography. Activities are designed for students 4th through high school. Registered teachers may bring one adult guest and up to two children (ages 5-12) for free.
January 28, 2016
In December, iUTAH partner Utah Water Watch (UWW) said farewell to their longtime program coordinator, Brian Greene. With his departure, UWW is reorganizing their operations in a way that will increase their capacity to raise public awareness of Utah’s water resources.
UWW has added two new staff members to their water quality education and data collection program. Ellen Bailey and Eli Robinson will be co-coordinating UWW, Stream Side Science (SSS), and other outreach programs. Ellen has been working as program coordinator for Utah State University (USU) Water Quality Extension since June 2015. Eli joined the program this year as an AmeriCorps volunteer. They both enjoy working with the public, and are passionate about water and the environment.
Before coming to USU, Ellen worked as an environmental scientist in Florida, monitoring water quality and assisting with wetland and spring restoration projects. Eli, a recent graduate of Whitman College in Washington, has experience working with fisheries and water quality in the Intermountain West.
With their guidance, UWW will continue to train citizen scientists in water quality monitoring. They will expand the network of advanced monitoring (Tier 2) volunteers across the state. These volunteers work one-on-one with scientists or watershed coordinators to collect specific data used in assessment of restoration efforts.
This fits with USU Professor and Extension Water Quality Specialist, Nancy Mesner’s findings. “People are learning as they collect this data, about their own water bodies, water bodies that they may have lived next to for years,” she said.
Ellen and Eli will also be working to merge of common elements of the Stream Side Science youth education program with UWW, encouraging more students, teachers, and clubs to participate in local water quality monitoring. Along with these improvements, Ellen will be based in Salt Lake City, out of the Utah Division of Water Quality office, while Eli will be in Logan. This arrangement will allow greater coverage along the Wasatch front.
“What we find is that they [volunteers] feel more positive about water bodies as they understand how they change over time,” said Mesner. “Sometimes people see a water body get turbid and they think it is polluted, and it is just that the flows are up. They learn to understand seasonal changes, and that they have cleaner water than they thought. What we find is that this is an entryway to more stewardship, and more sensible ownership.”