By Staff Reports
(Victorville) – “Beyond Reasonable Drought” was the name of a March 8th teacher workshop which taught teachers how to bring the reality of California’s serious water shortage home to their students while helping them incorporate water conservation into their everyday lives. The workshop, which was attended by 18 educators from throughout the High Desert, was co-sponsored by the Mojave Environmental Education Consortium and MEEC-sponsor Liberty Utilities–Apple Valley, formerly known as Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company.
During the workshop, staff from Liberty–Apple Valley’s Conservation Department led attendees in constructing an “Edible Aquifer”, a hands-on activity which demonstrates how groundwater is stored, and the effect that above-ground activities can have on water below the surface. The student-friendly activity uses ice cream floats to simulate the different layers of an aquifer. According to MEEC Program Specialist Samantha Murray, studies show that students tend to engage and focus better with a “hands on” approach versus simple textbook lectures.
Teachers in attendance were also trained to read water meters and to perform home water audits in order to gauge how much water is being used and where. “People are genuinely surprised to learn how much water they are using for showering or for watering their lawn,” stated Liberty’s Conservation Specialist, Norma Armenta. According to Armenta, Liberty uses computerized meters that have a data logging function, which allows customers to see how much water they used and when. “Our customers find this feature to be extremely helpful,” she adds.
According to workshop attendee Valerie Oliva, a Special Education teacher from Desert Knolls Elementary in Apple Valley, the workshop “…was a must do for teachers. The presenters gave us first-hand information on how water is monitored…and on programs and services available for educators and their students.”
MEEC is a non-profit organization which provides STEM-based environmental education resources to High Desert educators free of charge, thanks to the generosity of more than 30 active sponsors. Liberty Utilities is a regulated water, natural gas and electric transmission and distribution utility, delivering responsive and reliable essential services to over 560,000 customers across the United States. Liberty Utilities–Apple
Valley provides drinking water to about 63,000 people in the Town of Apple Valley and parts of San Bernardino County. For more information on MEEC, visit www.meeconline.com.