Forests provide a variety of ecosystem services and help to maintain a clean and plentiful water supply. In this activity, students explore the connection between forests, watersheds, and their community’s water. Students will identify local watersheds and their forest cover, will analyze a specific watershed in Maine, and will evaluate the extent to which their own community’s water supply is affected by forests and forest management.
This is one of 9 activities that can be found in PLT’s Exploring Environmental Issues: Focus on Forests module. To get the activity, attend a training and receive PLT’s Focus on Forests secondary module. Below are some supporting resources for this activity.
Every month we carefully select new tools and resources that enhance PLT’s lessons. These include educational apps, videos, posters, interactive websites, careers information, and teacher-generated materials. Browse a chronological listing below:
The World’s Watersheds
Water is one of our most important resources! Earth’s rivers form watersheds to carry freshwater to communities and all living species around the globe. These Beautiful Maps of the World’s Watersheds, artistically mapped by geographer Szűcs Róbert, highlight the world’s permanent and temporary streams and rivers. The stunning images depict the dominant drainage systems of the world’s water.
The Adventure of Water from Afar
Go on an adventure to learn more about innovations being made to protect and manage clean water! Produced by EarthEcho International, the video Water By Design: Water from Afar investigates reservoirs of water and the technology employed to measure and maintain it. One example examines how NASA uses innovative technology to measure snow and represent the availability of fresh water that comes from snow melts. Check out the video to learn even more about how water is stored, filtered, and brought to your home. EarthEcho’s Educator Resources are a collection of videos, lesson plans, and other materials designed to support high-quality classroom experiences and assist educators as they equip young people to explore and protect their local natural resources.
The Chemistry of Clean Water
This video, The Chemistry of Clean Water, from the American Chemistry Council demonstrates some of the ways chemistry keeps the water supply clean. Chemistry helps to purify, protect, and conserve water for safe consumption. The video helps students draw connections to elementary chemistry concepts and STEM.
This web toolkit is designed to help middle, high school, and college educators and students – as well as citizens, conservationists, municipal decision-makers, and researchers – advance their knowledge and stewardship of fresh water. Developed by the Stroud Water Research Center, the toolkit enables users to share watershed-model scenarios, watershed-monitoring data, and watershed-management stories as an open, collaborative community. Learn more and access archived training webinars for educators at www.wikiwatershed.org.
Skype a Scientist
The Skype a Scientist program matches more than 500 scientists with classrooms worldwide. Available for any level along the K-12 spectrum, a typical Q&A-style video chat lasts between 30 to 60 minutes and covers topics in the scientist’s area of expertise and what it’s like to be a scientist. Follow the link to browse scientists and sign up!
Forest Atlas of the US
The US Forest Service created a complete Forest Atlas of the United States. It covers everything from tree pollen count to owl habitats to agroforestry practices, using a range of the Forest Service’s resources. Use this in your classroom to give your students a comprehensive understanding of what American forests have to offer!
Clean Water: Brought to You by Chemistry
Water is essential to life, and chemistry is essential to water! This short video from the American Chemistry Council highlights some of the ways chemistry is involved in keeping the water supply flowing and drinking water safe.
Geoscience Career Videos
The National Ground Water Association (NGWA) has put together two new videos that highlight potential paths for high school students interested in a geoscience career. The first video titled Groundwater Careers includes interviews with college students and professionals who discuss their field work, lab work, and passion for becoming an environmentalist. The second video titled Groundwater is Cool provides important facts, figures, and profound statistics about the world’s groundwater use and thus the need for groundwater professionals.
Forest to Faucet Program
The Nature Conservancy’s Forest to Faucet Program has compiled lots of online resources for educators and students designed to help youth make the connection between forests and our freshwater resources. The Forest to Faucet Program works with teachers to provide the tools and training to educate their students about water conservation. Consider partnering with them to conduct a PLT workshop!
Changes in the Air: Seeing Trends, Coalition Works to Help a River Adapt
To prepare for changes along Washington state’s Nisqually River, tribal leaders, private partners, and government agencies are working to help the watershed and its inhabitants adapt. Read more about how agencies work together in this article.
Clean Water – One of Many Forest Products PowerPoint
This PowerPoint Presentation from the Maine Forest Service discusses the water cleaning power of the worlds forest.
Case Study: Protecting Denver’s Drinking Water
Read a case study about how the 2002 wildfires near Denver were treated to help protect the water quality of Denver’s reservoirs.
Return to the Forest Where We Live
This video, available for purchase, takes a look at the devastation of the urban forests in New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast caused by Hurricane Katrina. More than 70% of the trees in New Orleans were damaged by the storm and the flooding that followed. Can you imagine a city without trees? What changes result?
EPA’s new EnviroAtlas tool is designed to help communities and researchers make informed planning and policy decisions related to the environment and ecosystems. EnviroAtlas provides datasets and interactive tools to allow users to explore the many benefits people receive from nature, often referred to as ecosystem services. EnviroAtlas includes over 300 data layers, letting users analyze how decisions affect ecosystems and their ability to provide goods and services. Key components include:
Monitoring Freshwater Ecosystems App
This Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Lake Science app developed by UC Berkley’s The Lawrence Hall of Science allows users to participate in and facilitate activities that teach about freshwater ecosystems. For example, families and educators have the opportunity to view videos and discover what lies beneath the surface with an “Under the Lake” simulation. The DIY Lake Science app is all inclusive – material lists, instructions, and explanations of how to participate in a day of exploring inside or outside are readily available and are displayed in a detailed and informational format. This app is free on iTunes, available for iOS 7 and above.