Water Resources Education Assessment - Coconino County Programs
Name of Program/Location/Point of Contact
Coconino County Cooperative Extension
Beth Tucker, County Director
2304 North 3rd Street
Flagstaff, AZ 86004-3605
There are no specific efforts being made or implemented in regards to
water resource education provided by UA-Cooperative Extension faculty/staff
in Coconino County. Water resource education as it relates to plants and
irrigation is included in the horticulture program and master gardener
activities as described in other county descriptions.
An extensive review of the water resource education programs outside
of Cooperative Extension has been conducted for Coconino County. Perhaps
the extensive network of water education initiatives may explain why Coconino
Cooperative Extension has not been called on for water resources education.
These programs are outlined below.
A. Project Life
Purpose and Description: Project Life is a one week camp at Camp
Colton at the foot of the San Francisco Peaks, surrounded by the Coconino
National Forest. At Project Life students learn outdoor living skills
and environmental appreciation. "As the students participate in specific
activities, their instruction is integrated to include elements of geology,
botany, zoology, meteorology, astronomy and history as well as specific
lessons on the unique wildlife of the peaks and the delicate balance of
life on the edges of ponds and streams." Specific water related activities
include description and discussion of the water cycle, examination of
aquatic life within and immediately adjacent to nearby ponds, as well
as some basic water quality parameters. Water system development and water
use are both presented for the general Flagstaff area, as well as that
for Camp Colton. Heavy emphasis is placed on water conservation (students
are usually limited to one brief shower during the five days, due to system
Audience: Students in grade 6 from all elementary schools within
Current status: Approximately 1000 students per year along with
their teachers, each for a one-week session during fall and spring months.
Impacts: Student evaluations have shown better than 95 percent
student approval. They report enjoying learning about wildlife, water,
etc. Students become very conscious of water wastage and vigilant in reporting
any leaks or drips in the system, no matter how small. The program has
been in effect for nearly years and has strong community support.
Funding: Currently, the program is half funded from the school
district budget and half from outside sources, such as grants and donations.
District direction is to convert it to 100 percent outside funding over
the next five years. A major source of outside funding is in-lieu state
income tax donations (the Arizona program, which allows up to $200 of
state income tax obligation to be donated to educational or charitable
institutions in lieu of being paid to the state). Other sources have included
private foundations and government agencies, e.g., the Forest Service.
Lessons learned: The program has proven to be beneficial to teachers,
as well as students, as they must also spend a week at the camp and participate
Copies of materials: Project Life descriptive flyer.
B. Northern Arizona Environmental Sciences and Education at Northern
Purpose and Description: a degree program at Northern Arizona
University. One part of the degree requirements is an internship/fieldwork
experience. Some of these internships are in the field of environmental
education. The program sponsors an Environmental Science Day Camp during
the summer for students of middle school age. It is a one-week long camp
and has been held in the Fort Valley Experimental Forest area. A portion
of the camp curriculum has been related to the aquatic and riparian features
of some nearby ponds. In addition the program has a resource outlet, the
Northern Arizona Environmental Education Resource Center which provides
a wide variety of educational materials for use by teachers.
The program is also working with NAU's Science and Mathematics Learning
Center in tailoring science curriculum of the Full Option Science System
(FOSS) to local conditions and resources or "connecting FOSS to northern
Arizona". The FOSS system resource kits have been adopted by many
schools in the area, rather than traditional science textbooks.
Audience: university students for the degree program, middle school
students (number variable) for the summer day camp, and teachers for the
Impacts: very positive feedback on the summer day camp, interns
from the degree program have been quite helpful in a number of environmental
education programs and some have gone on to employment in this field.
Use of the resource center has not been as great as hoped.
Funding: Funding was/is derived from basic university program.
However, a portion has also been funded from the environmental education
funds derived from the (optional) Arizona environmental license plate.
Lessons learned: Classroom teachers are very busy and have varying
degrees of comfort with, and interest in, environmental science. Programs
that minimize time impacts on teachers (e.g., don't require them to spend
extra time in logistics) tend to be more used.
Purpose and Description: The Environmental Education Outreach
Program is a part of the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals
at Northern Arizona University. Its purpose is to interest Native American
students in environmental careers and to assist schools in improving environmental
science literacy. Much of this is done through working with teachers and
providing them with workshops and access to teaching resources. Water
related areas include facilitation of participation in Project GLOBE and
teachers in Project WET. In addition, coordination with NAU's Civil Engineering
Department is helping rural tribal communities access practical technology
for onsite wastewater treatment. The Institute also operates a summer
program for Native American students considering environmental careers.
Audience: Native Americans from a wide area, including tribes
in Arizona, New Mexico, Washington, and Wisconsin, primarily through educators.
Impacts: Growing use and participation reflects favorable response.
D. Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (Field Science Partnership)
Purpose and Description: This is a math and science partnership
between the National Park Service (NPS) at Glen Canyon National Recreation
Area and the Page Unified School District, along with the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service, the Utah Department of Wildlife Resources, and the Page
Unified Golf Course. The NPS provides a Science Education Specialist to
work directly with the Page High School in co-teaching their Research
Biology Class. Students gain hands-on field experience working in the
field of biology. Students monitor water quality at popular Lake Powell
swimming beaches for fecal coliform and E. coli during the months of October
to April (NPS does the monitoring during the heaviest use season of May-September).
In addition they are participating in a project to grow razorback suckers,
a listed species, in ponds at the Page Unified Golf Course. The purpose
is to grow the fish large enough that they can be released in the inflow
rivers of Lake Powell. The ponds use reclaimed water so that water conservation
and water quality principles are also learned. A recent addition to the
program was working with middle school (grades 7-8) science classes on
a comprehensive study of zonation in the transition area between high
and low water elevations of the lake.
Audience: High school students, approximately 20-30 per year,
in the Research Biology Class. Middle school students in the lake's transition
Impacts: Program very well received in the community and has received
a variety of awards and recognition, not only locally but also regionally
and nationally, e.g., coverage in the New York Times.
Funding: NPS provides a major portion of the funding. Other funding
comes from grants, etc. This is a continuing part of the job for the Science
Lessons Learned: A program like this requires a continuing commitment
of staff to fully maintain coordination and momentum, especially with
the number and variety of partners. The Science Education Specialist on
the NPS staff is integral to achieving the program ends.
Contact: Stephanie Dubois (520) 608-6263
Web site: http://www.nps.gov/glca/partner
[temporarily take off the web, 1/15/2002]
E. Resource Center for Environmental Education
Purpose and Description: a private, nonprofit organization sponsored
by the Coconino NRCD. Full spectrum of environmental education topics
with water modules being one part. Provide classroom presentations, teacher
workshops, and resources for use by teachers in their classrooms. Also
work on cooperative programs with numerous other entities in the area,
e.g., City of Flagstaff on water history, Arizona Game & Fish Department,
etc. The program has a director plus five instructors who make presentations
and lead field trips. Water oriented field trips include Oak Creek, nearby
riparian sites at Griffith Springs, and constructed wetlands used in wastewater
effluent treatment at Kachina Village.
Audience: Students in grades K-12 with approximately 85 percent
being in the elementary grades (K-6). Currently work with five school
districts within Coconino County -- Flagstaff Unified, Williams Unified,
Maine Consolidated, Grand Canyon, and Fredonia-Moccasin.
Current status: Of 1,100 classroom programs or field trips last
year, approximately 25 were with water modules, with approximately 25
students per class. Ten of the 60 field trips were to riparian and wetlands
areas. One of the teacher workshops was Project Wet, with 13 teachers
Impacts: There is a heavy demand from classroom teachers. Requests
for classroom programs and field trips are greater than can be accommodated
by the staff. Teacher workshops have formal evaluations from participants,
but there has not been a formal evaluation of other programs.
Funding: The largest source of funding is from Forest fees and
other federal land in-lieu-of-taxes. By law, 25 percent of the revenue,
from National Forest use, is returned to the county for schools and roads.
In addition, a federal in lieu of taxes payment is made to the county
for other federal lands to make up for property taxes foregone by government
ownership. For many years the Resource Center has received an allocation
of $30 thousand per year from the schools' portion. The next most important
segment of funding is from Arizona's environmental license plate program.
Grants from private foundations and the City of Flagstaff supplement these.
In recent years the payments from National Forests have declined due to
reduced timber harvests, putting greater pressure on school system budgets,
and raising concern about the long-term certainty of this source of funding.
Lessons learned: It is important to give students a basic understanding
of water - the natural water cycle, plus human development and use of
water. This should include what happens locally, i.e., where does their
water come from, how is it treated, what happens after it goes down the
drain, etc. In the future they plan to expand into more explanation of
watersheds and land use influences. Both classroom presentations and field
trips need to be tailored to knowledge level and attention span.
Copies of materials: Fall 2000 program brochure; example of school
skit on Flagstaff water situation
Contacts: Glo Edwards, Mary Balagna (520) 779-1745
Water Resource Education programs at Slide Rock State Park in Coconino
County are generally developed and coordinated by the Northern Region
of Arizona State Parks. Slide Rock State Park, on Oak Creek, is only a
few miles upstream from Red Rock State Park (in Yavapai County). Dead
Horse Ranch State Park, on the Verde River, is also nearby in Yavapai
County. All three have a focus on streams and associated riparian areas.
Purpose and Description: Slide Rock State Park offers an annual
Riparian Area Day with special emphasis on the riparian features and guided
walks. They also have a program called "Oak Creek is Unique"
with water kits which can be borrowed by teachers for use with classes
who visit the site. Slide Rock is a widely known swimming and wading site
and maintenance of water quality is very important. Red Rock State Park
has a special emphasis on environmental education and has developed curriculum
based school programs, which include site visits with ranger led talks
Audience: The Oak Creek is Unique programs at Slide Rock State
Park are for elementary schools. Recently about 100 students per year
have participated, primarily from Sedona and the Verde Valley. The curriculum
at Red Rock State Park is developed for elementary through High School
and receives extensive use from schools in Sedona and the Verde Valley,
plus some from other parts of the state, e.g., some schools in the Phoenix
area who bring groups up for programs.
Impacts: Very positive feedback on the value and usefulness of
Funding: Because Red Rock State Park has a primary emphasis on environmental
education, funding comes from the Arizona State Parks operating funds.
Heritage funds (from the Arizona lottery) are used as a supplement and
have enabled hiring additional staff for provision of the school programs.
Lessons learned: the importance of teaching stewardship of natural
resources, especially for water and riparian resources.
Purpose and Description: Achieving reduced water consumption is
the goal of the water conservation program of the City of Flagstaff. Planned
and coordinated by the City's Water Conservation Committee, the education
portion of the program has a strong emphasis on reaching students in the
school system, plus some general public outreach. In cooperation with
the Resource Center for Environmental Education, a teaching module, "The
Wonder of Water", was produced in 1986 and updated in 1996. It contains
individual grade level lessons for grades 1-6 which incorporate general
water education principles and add specific information on the Flagstaff
area and its water and wastewater collection, treatment and distribution
systems. To add interest and excitement to learning, Children's theatre
companies have been used in school presentations. Most recently the National
Theatre for Children, based in Minneapolis, came to town and presented
skits and messages highlighting the need for water conservation, tailored
to Flagstaff's situation.
To reach the broad public audience, water conservation messages are presented
through newspaper articles and inserts, TV and radio spots, and exhibits
at special events such as the Flagstaff Home Show and the Festival of
Science. Many of these efforts are combined with messages about solid
waste recycling, a program operated by the City's Public Works Department.
Information on xeriscaping to reduce the irrigation requirements of landscaping
is also provided.
Audience: Formal school presentations are for elementary school
students, water system users for other messages.
Impacts: Difficult to assess effects of this portion of conservation
program, alone. Other portions of the program include a reclaimed water
plant and distribution system, inverted rate structure (higher per unit
costs as water use increases) and low flow toilet conversion rebates.
However, since the program was instituted in 1986 the peak water use has
increased only slightly while population has increased by close to 50
The National Theatre for Children presentations were given an approval
rating of better than 95 percent by teachers.
Funding: The program is funded as a regular part of the City's
Utility Department budget, which relies on user fees for water and sewer
Lessons learned: It is necessary to keep the message regularly
in the public's eye. You can't just present it once or twice a year and