Educators pass on water-conservation expertise - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Opinion

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Educators pass on water-conservation expertise

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Posted: Thursday, December 15, 2011 3:00 pm

When you live in the desert, water conservation is a way of life.

Salt River Project has been promoting conservation for more than 100 years and we recently launched Together We Conserve, a multi-faceted educational effort aimed at water conservation while explaining how SRP's investments in water infrastructure, management and planning helped the Valley grow into one of the nation's largest metropolitan areas.

Valley schoolchildren also are now gaining a comprehensive understanding of our water supply and the importance of water-conservation and efficiency. Students are getting this information thanks to what their teachers learned last spring and summer at the inaugural Celebrating Fresh Water in Arizona Educator Academy, presented by SRP, Phoenix, Project WET and the Arizona Geographic Alliance.

Educators learned about the Valley's water portfolio, from the history of 100-year-old Theodore Roosevelt Dam to the expertise required to manage and deliver water to the Valley from a 13,000-square-mile watershed. That first wave of 80 academy graduates is just beginning to incorporate water knowledge gained at the freshwater academy into their classroom curriculum.

Karen Guerrero, a science teacher and parent at the Accelerated Foreign Language Academy in Gilbert, is one of the first graduates from the program. Guerrero recently launched a water curriculum at a "Celebrating Arizona" event at Mesa Community College's Red Mountain Campus. More than 50 future educators at MCC were involved in teaching about Arizona geography and water to the K-5 dual-language students from Gilbert Elementary School. Karen plans to teach water conservation throughout the school year in a program that will culminate with a Family Water Night event in the spring.

The Together We Conserve campaign will also reach out to students in early December when SRP will name a Valley school as the first winner of the "Flat Dewey" competition. The "Flat Dewey" program was designed to encourage fourth-grade students to learn about water supplies and resources throughout Arizona. The winning school will get a pizza party and a visit from SRP's "Dewey" water mascot, which inspired the "Flat Dewey" competition as a way for students to think about how water impacts their lives on a daily basis.

For more water-saving tips and other contest opportunities, visit SRP's website.

John Felty is manager of Water Shareholder Relations and Sustainability at Salt River Project.

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