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Bayous to Beaches: Connecting inland behaviors to the health of the Gulf of Mexico
Proceedings of the 2022 Mississippi Water Resources Conference
Year: 2022 Authors: Dalessandri S., Blackmon L.
The University of Southern Mississippi's Marine Education Center, with support from the EPA, has developed a Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) curriculum which can be easily implemented into the classroom. Target audience are grades 7-12, however with a bit of modification younger students can also participate. The program focuses on connecting behaviors on land and upriver to water quality along the Gulf Coast. The curriculum comes in the form of brief educational videos designed for classroom viewing, each addressing an aspect of watershed health. Suggested activities accompany each video engage students by promoting hands on engagement and critical thinking. Over the past 3 years, teachers from the Gulf Coast region and as far away as the central Midwest have participated in this project through teacher professional development workshops and student field experiences at our coast Mississippi outdoor education center. Each group brought new perspective and the last few years carried with it many challenges. These challenges inspired us to extend our reach by creating a standalone curriculum which can be delivered virtually and be taken into the field at the discretion of the implementing teacher. The resulting curriculum aims to reinforce the connection and shared stewardship responsibility among all who live within important watersheds.