Teachers conducting creek study

MU partnership to bring watershed education to Penn Manor schools

Penn Manor is partnering with Millersville University on a $400,000 project to expand the teaching of watershed education in elementary schools.

Millersville has received a three-year grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries to train Penn Manor teachers and MU elementary education majors to educate students about the impact of human activity on local creeks, streams and rivers.

Called “Shared Waters: An Upstream-Downstream Collaborative,” the project is a joint effort of Millersville University, Penn Manor, Virginia Wesleyan University and Norfolk Collegiate School. 

Over the course of three years, MU will provide professional development to 18 Penn Manor fourth-grade teachers and college faculty and provide training on watershed education practices to 500 teacher candidates attending Millersville University.

They’ll take that knowledge into their classrooms and serve as mentors for other teachers to implement watershed education activities for their students. In all, more than 1,000 elementary students will learn about the impact of local actions on the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

On August 2, six teachers and administrators from Hambright and Eshleman Elementary schools began their training at Millersville University’s Watershed Education Training Institute, located at Creek Lodge, near the Conestoga River.

In addition to professional development and training, the grant will fund materials for students to participate in field trips and conduct field analysis on local waterways. In addition, the students will be asked to develop and implement strategies to improve the health of habitats at creeks and streams near their schools.

The funding “will enhance watershed education both at Penn Manor and across the Commonwealth as MU prepares the next generation of teachers to teach about local watershed issues,” said Dr. Nanette Marcum-Dietrich, MU professor of science education and co-director of the Watershed Education Training Institute.

Dr. Jerry Egan, Penn Manor assistant superintendent of elementary education, said the program will provide more hands-on opportunities to spark students’ interest in science.

“This grant will help make science come to life for students, teaching them about watersheds and hopefully inspiring them to be good stewards of the environment,” he said.

Many thanks to Millersville University for partnering with Penn Manor on this important project!