Waterin Our Environment: Education Project

ReportNo WSAA 58

 

June 1993

 

EXECUTIVESUMMARY

 

TheWater In Our Environment education project was initiated and funded in the1990/91 financial year by the former Mornington Peninsula and District WaterBoard (now part of Melbourne Water).

 

Duringthe financial year 1991/92 the project was jointly funded by Melbourne Waterand a grant from the Urban Water Research Association of Australia. Workcarried out in this project was managed by the Communications Branch of theSouth East Region of Melbourne Water and was categorised into three areas:

 

1.     Development OfPrinted Program Material The program material development stage wasconducted by an educational consultant (Harry Breidahl, of NautilusEducational), with the support of Melbourne Water staff and local teachers. Itresulted in the production of five printed packages, one for each of thefollowing program areas:

 

1.1             Water In OurEnvironment Information Pack A series of 10 Information Sheets was produced toprovide background information for all other program areas (see Appendix 1).

 

1.2             Looking At WaterSupply The focus of this program, based on Frankston Reservoir, was thestudy of water supply for school year levels 4 to 10 (see Appendix 3a).

 

1.3             Watching Wastewater The focus ofthis program, based at Mornington Purification Plant, was the study ofwastewater for school year levels 4 to 10 (see Appendix 3b).

 

1.4             FrankstonReservoir, VCE Fieldwork The focus of this program, based at FrankstonReservoir, was the facilitation of fieldwork requirements of Unit 1 (year 11)Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) environmental studies, biology andgeography (see Appendix 3c).

 

1.5             Tarago Reservoir,VCE Fieldwork The focus of this program, based at Tarago Reservoir, was thefacilitation of fieldwork requirements of Unit 3 (year 12) VCE geography (seeAppendix 3d). Because of changes in VCE work requirements, and in response tolocal teachers, this program replaced the development of a VCE program for theMornington Purification Plant that was included in the original project brief.

 

2.     CurriculumDevelopment And Professional Development In association with theSouthern Region of the Department of School Education, a program with the jointaims of curriculum development by, and the professional development of,teachers from the Frankston and Mornington areas was carried out (see Appendix2).

 

3.     Melbourne WaterStaff Development Program A brief investigation of the role of MelbourneWater staff involved in trial excursion programs was conducted.

 

Summary

 

Boththe project methodology and the materials produced will not only be easilyadapted for use by other regions of Melbourne Water but should be able to beapplied by water authorities Australia-wide.

 


Key findings and recommendationsof the project are:

 

        The development of specific education programs, such as the fiveprogram areas described in this report, should be carried out by waterauthorities, such as Melbourne Water.

 

        The maintenance of links between water authorities, such as MelbourneWater, and education authorities, such as the Victorian Department of SchoolEducation, is seen as extremely valuable. However, it is suggested that thefunding of teacher involvement in curriculum development or professionaldevelopment programs should be the responsibility of education authoritiesrather than water authorities.

 

        Both the Water In Our Environment information pack, and the methodologyused to produce it, can be adapted for use by other Melbourne Water regions orother water authorities.

 

        The development of trial education programs for Frankston and TaragoReservoirs and the Mornington Purification Plant should be followed up with theestablishment of permanent programs at these facilities (see Appendix 3 forfurther recommendations relating to the development of excursion programs). Asbefore, the excursion program materials and methodology used to produce themcan be adapted for use by other areas of Melbourne Water and by other waterauthorities.

 

        Teachers should be encouraged to contribute copies of any appropriatecurriculum materials to a resource collection catalogued by, and stored at,local Melbourne Water offices. Orientation workshops conducted by MelbourneWater should be offered to teachers at schools taking part in educationprograms at Melbourne Water facilities.

 

        Although education programs for both primary and secondary schoolgroups are the main focus of this report, it is implied that any programs orspecial facilities created for schools can, and should, be adapted to cater forthe education of community groups.

 

        A training program for Melbourne Water staff involved as guides ineducation programs should be developed.

 

Finally,the Water In Our Environment Steering Committee would like to thank the UrbanWater Research Association of Australia for funding assistance in developingthe Water in Our Environment project. This successful pilot project nowprovides a valuable basis for further development and extension.

 

Copiesof the Report are available from WSAA, price $A40. Orders may be placed throughthe Bookshop at www.wsaa.asn.au or by email to info@wsaa.asn.au.