Project WADES (Watershed Action Dialogue Education and Stewardship) is a proposed high school service-learning curriculum developed by the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership (LRWP) in partnership with Rutgers Cooperative Extension. Project WADES combines an Environmental Education (EE) curriculum with volunteer water quality monitoring and environmental action to foster deep learning around scientific inquiry and the natural environment while advancing watershed health. Through problem-based service learning, Project WADES engages the new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for high school science, technology, engineering and math instruction that New Jersey educators will be required to implement beginning in School Year 2016-2017.
Project WADES speaks to two core goals of the LRWP: 1) fostering environmental appreciation and stewardship by cultivating a “culture” of science among residents of the Lower Raritan Watershed through community participation and collaboration in watershed research activities; and 2) communicating scientific findings about the watershed to residents and established decision-making bodies for informed decision making about policy, land use and landscape change.
The LRWP is working with diverse partners including Rutgers Cooperative Extension and coLAB Arts to pilot aspects of Project WADES in area schools beginning in January 2016. We are actively seeking grants to roll out a comprehensive program for the the 2016-2017 school year.
Through Project WADES the LRWP advances our core goal of cultivating a culture of science in the watershed. By working with area high school students to conduct stream monitoring and landscape assessments, and by working with them to report their findings, we improve science communication while cultivating “civic science” activities in the watershed.