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Yuba Water Agency’s Board of Directors voted today to formalize a water education program. The action lays out a roadmap for how the agency will reach its education goals and includes a commitment of more than $275,000 to complete the implementation of Yuba River watershed-focused curriculum in K-12 classrooms throughout Yuba County.
“This partnership embodies what we want for our community,” said Rocco Greco, Marysville Joint Unified School District executive director of student engagement. “Beyond the cultural relevance of helping our students and families feel connected to the natural and human history of our area, the curriculum created through this partnership emphasizes the role water plays in the physical world we are surrounded by in beautiful Yuba County.”
The agency’s water education program, developed by staff with broad community participation, aims to improve the quality of life and economic prosperity for the people of Yuba County and promote stewardship by helping residents and visitors develop an increased understanding of the region’s water and natural resources. The program also seeks to increase awareness of the agency’s mission and management of Yuba County’s water resources.
A major effort under the program is the agency’s watershed education curriculum project, which is currently being piloted in Yuba County classrooms. Curriculum development began last year with an inaugural cohort of 45 teachers who received specialized training on the Yuba River watershed and how to create lessons that meet Next Generation Science Standards. Teachers then worked in smaller, grade-level groups to develop more than 175 Yuba River-focused lessons in science and other subject areas covering all K-12 grades and some community college lessons.
The funding approved today by the board will help train a second cohort of up to 40 teachers, who will evaluate and refine the initial curriculum before it’s implemented countywide. The curriculum is designed to pair with a state-of-the-art watershed experience center, which is currently in the master planning process. An update on the master plan with a multi-year implementation strategy is expected in the fall.
The curriculum project is a collaborative effort with involvement and guidance from many partners, including all five Yuba County school districts, the Yuba County Office of Education, Yuba Community College District, South Yuba River Citizens League and the Yuba River Endowment.
“The board’s decision today signals our long-term support of educational opportunities and partnerships to improve the opportunities for our children and communities in Yuba County,” said Gary Bradford, vice-chair of the agency’s board of directors and chair of the watershed experience center and curriculum committee. “I am honored to be part of this and so excited to see all of these efforts become a reality.”
Under the newly formalized program, the agency will also continue to partner with local educational, art and nonprofit institutions and instructors to advance water-related programming in the region through individual grants. Additionally, agency staff will continue to support water-focused career and technical education programs throughout all county schools.
Learn more about Yuba Water’s investment in water education at yubawater.org.