Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs)

After the success of Prince William County’s award-winning education program, From the Mountains to the Estuary: From the Schoolyards to the BayPEREC partnered with Fairfax County Public Schools to create a similar outreach program. Through generous NOAA BWET funding, Spatially Connecting Kids to the Bay was initially developed, and now this life science lab investigation is sustained with funding from the FCPS school board. This program, conducted along waterways in local parks, has directly reached over 120,000 seventh graders since 2010.

PEREC’s Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences or MWEEs (pronounced me-we)brings middle school students to local waterways and where they are immersed in authentic field experiences led by enthusiastic Mason Field Interpreters. Youth collect and identify aquatic organisms, assess water chemistry parameters, such as nitrate, phosphate, turbidity, pH, dissolved oxygen and discuss how these may impact aquatic life. They also examine land use practices and biodiversity on land. The overarching goal is to give youth the opportunity to determine, based on data they collected themselves, whether or not their local watershed is healthy, and to devise what they could do in their own lives to enhance their watershed.