What're Our Water Lessons?
We are planning a "Drinking Water Day" here in our community, with plans for some of our families (members of our Community Environmental Management Household Partners) to tour our local water treatment plant in Cartersville. I think we have a good handle on what we will present, with both our city and county water depts. and stormwater depts. participating in a Question and Answer session to follow the tour. But three things have come up over and over in my work with environmental education--number 1green gripe is that very few communities seem to coordinate their efforts across departments and jurisdictions and work together. Come on, people, play nice! I am very fortunate that I can work across political boundaries and bring in not just local, but state, regional, and federal agencies when needed. Things have so much more impact that way, but people often put politics above what is best for the citizens we all serve. Hope you will all tell me about how your community does work together across agencies, so I can take that off my list. My #2 green gripe is that teachers are not properly trained across the board in environmental education--I have teachers in my school systems that can tell their students all about Antarctica, the oceans, and the jungle habitats, but don't know what local watershed they live in, what bird that is on their windowsill, or what tree is growing outside their building. Environmental education in the schools should also have a local and sustainable component in order to be truly relevant and create environmentally aware citizens for the future. I have included city and county officials in my local Project WET and Project WILD trainings, but the school systems don't always see how very important that is. My #3 green gripe is that state and federal agencies don't often let local governments know quickly enough about "special events" in which they want local participation. If you want us to celebrate "Kids Should Be Outdoors" Day, or "Insulate Your Home" Week, then let us know more than one month ahead. (I just made that up, so if I stepped on any particular toes, or if that is a real day or week, I am sorry.) We all have small staffs on the local levels, and are usually very busy planning for the events we have had on our calendars 12 months ago. And if you have taken the time to find out if someone else is already doing this, so you don't duplicate their efforts, that's great. Even better, find a way to partner with them, and grow a new relationship! Sorry about the green gripes. I'd like to know what others think.